Sorrento Centre is situated on 24 acres of unceded territory of the Secwépemc peoples. For thousands of years, the Secwépemc First Nation stewarded this land, caring for it from generation to generation.
As National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21st, and Canada Day, July 1st, approach we acknowledge that the impacts of colonization are real and ongoing. Our organization wants to take a small role in the work of decolonization in being in relationship with local bands and supporting the wisdom of indigenous ways of knowing.
Creative collaborations to honor the land and its original stewards are underway with our indigenous neighbors. Following the legacy of Neskonlith elder, Dr. Mary Thomas, we recently walked the land of the Centre with Bonnie Thomas and Valerie of Switzmalph Cultural Society to choose locations for plant signposts. Signs in Secwepemc and English will soon introduce plants, shrubs, and trees to our visitors. We experienced a sense of wonder as edible plants were identified (Thimbleberry, Oregon grape) and wild flowers, including a deep burgundy wild ginger with an orchid-like appearance hidden underneath heart-shaped leaves on the forest floor.
Our waterfront on Shuswap Lake is home to many birds and offers pristine views off the beach. Resident eagles and ospreys live alongside the loons and swans – so much bird life in addition to the many families that enjoy the beach during our summer programming. This fall we are bringing indigenous language and culture to the waterfront as well. In October, we are honored to collaborate with the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and Victoria Multifaith Society on a Mindfulness and Indigenous Law event. You are warmly invited to join a full day of community building, adult education, and cultural celebration! In the morning, Order-of-Canada recipient, Dual Law program co-founder, and Anishinaabe, Dr. John Borrows, will facilitate conversations on Indigenous Law and apply living principles outdoors with colleagues and University of Victoria law students. In the afternoon, Simon Fraser University professor in linguistics and indigenous studies, Dr. Marianne Ignace, will define Secwepemc law and speak on the connection between Language and Land. Later on, Adams Lake Indian Band members will lead drumming and singing on lake front land. We will wind down the day in community with traditional storytelling by a Secwépemc elder. This day event is free but requires registration. Meals and accommodations may be purchased with advance registration.
Our mission statement as being a place of transformation, healing and belonging means that our work involves deepening our relationship with the land and our indigenous neighbours. While Sorrento Centre’s programming is diverse throughout the year, indigenous ways of knowing and nature-based learning threads continue. As part of our week-long, all inclusive summer experience, we are pleased to offer storytelling with Déné, Meredith Rusk. We are also offering a week-long ‘Opening our Hearts to Reconciliation’ course especially geared to helping the Anglican church develop a new relationship between indigenous and settler people.
We hope you will join us in being transformed by local nature and rich indigenous culture.
“In the stillness, I am the trees alive with singing. I am the sky everywhere at once. I am… the wind bearing stories across geographies and generations. I am the light everywhere descending. I am my heart evoking drum song. I am my spirit rising. In the smell of these sacred medicines burning, I am my prayers and my meditation, and I am time captured fully in this NOW. I am a traveler on a sacred journey through this one shining day.”
~ Richard Wagamese