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Connect with Indigenous culture on fun, interactive Vernon tour

Connecting The Dots is put on at various Vernon businesses by Vernon Immigrant and Cultural Services
The Vernon and District Immigrant and Cultural Services Society is hosting a fun, interaction Indigenous Learning Tour at participating downtown Vernon businesses through the month of September. (VDICSS photo)

Connecting specifically located ‘dots’ around Vernon can help with learning more about Indigenous culture.

Vernon’s first Indigenous Learning Tour ‘Connecting the Dots’ aims to advance reconciliation through learning with a fun, interactive, and educational community experience throughout the month of September.

The event is the brainchild of the Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society (VDICSS), in collaboration with a network of more than a dozen community organizations and businesses.

“This initiative is set to run throughout the month of September, inviting residents and visitors alike to embark on a captivating self-led journey of discovery, education, and community engagement,” said Amelia Sirianni, executive director of VIDCSS.

“As guests on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded lands of the Okanagan Syilx Nation, VDICSS is excited to be part of Advancing Reconciliation in our community. As we welcome newcomers to Canada, we wish to honour the example of inclusivity of the Okanagan peoples by fostering a culturally conscious, equitable community that advocates for the rights of all.”

Vibrant orange circles will be placed throughout downtown Vernon and will serve as visual markers for the tour.

You can find the learning circles at these participating locations:

• Ratio;

• Community Safety Office;

• Okanagan Regional Library;

• Good Gracious;

• North Okanagan Friendship Center;

• Cotton’s Chocolates;

• Towne Theatre;

• The Wedge;

• Sweet Hoopla;

• KALECO Clothing;

• Museum and Archives of Vernon;

• Nature’s Fare Markets;

• Okanagan Science Centre;

• Vernon Community Arts Centre;

• Vernon Teach and Learn.

Each circle provides an engaging question and QR code, which leads to an informative YouTube video and reliable resource.

To further enrich the experience and engage the public, participants are encouraged to enter the businesses and answer a question related to the orange circle for a chance to win a prize from that location. Each circle also has a QR code that provides an opportunity to donate to an initiative or organization that supports Indigenous peoples and culture.

“We’re excited to spread Indigenous learning not only to newcomers to Canada but also the greater Vernon community,” said Anetha Kashuba, VDICSS community connections coordinator.

“The initiative was designed to foster a fun, interactive and educational experience that provides a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture and Canadian history. It has also been a great way to foster new partnerships and collaborate with other local agencies and businesses.”

The success of Connecting the Dots would not be possible without the unwavering support of the sponsors. Printech, the printing sponsor, generously contributed their time, services, and enthusiasm. Advertising sponsor Downtown Vernon Association has helped tremendously in sharing this event and getting the word out in the community. Additionally, VDICSS is also grateful to Fortis BC for its generous donation to help support the initiative.

“Connecting the Dots is a prime example of what happens when our community comes together,” said Sirianni. “This initiative demonstrates the collective commitment to decolonization and relearning the great things Indigenous culture has to teach us. We invite everyone to take part in this remarkable journey of exploration and connection.

“Whether you’re a resident looking to expand your knowledge or a visitor seeking to engage with the local culture, “Connecting the Dots” promises to ignite your curiosity and leads you into your own journey on the path of Truth and Reconciliation.”

Learn more about the Indigenous Learning Tour:

National Truth and Reconciliation Day is Saturday, Sept. 30.

READ MORE: Canadian men’s university volleyball matches coming to Vernon, Coldstream

READ MORE: Vernon Stamp Club hosting Okanagan counterparts

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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