What’s better than yakking with friends? Join the free Women’s Winter Yakfest to recharge. The online event takes place on the first and third Mondays of the month at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. (Submitted image)

What’s better than yakking with friends? Join the free Women’s Winter Yakfest to recharge. The online event takes place on the first and third Mondays of the month at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. (Submitted image)

Nuu-chah-nulth storyteller kicks off virtual 2021 Women’s Winter Yakfest series on Vancouver Island

‘It’s part book club, part hen party, part learning conference — and all fun’

Ucluelet First Nation legislator Jeneva Touchie (ʔukłaamaḥ Huḥtik, mamaałniqiic) is being featured in a new pilot series of Zoom events for women that’s starting 2021 with some inspiration.

Amazing Strong Inspired, an organization founded to provide focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, is presenting a women’s event, Women’s Winter Yakfest, on the first and third Mondays of the month at 5:30 p.m. online via Zoom.

“We’re so pleased to have Jeneva Touchie as part of our Monday, Jan. 4 special guest panel,” said organizer Jacqueline Carmichael in a press release.

“The work she’s doing on Nuu-chah-nulth dialects is important in preserving original West Coast language and raising awareness of vital history and culture, and she’s a wonderful example as she works on her doctorate in language,” Carmichael said.

Jeneva serves as a member of her nation’s legislature.

As an elected executive member, Jeneva holds the culture and heritage portfolio. Some of her duties include meeting with the department head of culture and heritage and listening to ideas or concerns of citizens within the community of Hitac̓u and those who live away from home. She is learning to speak her traditional language as a life-long learner. The goal is to share the language with citizens of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥwho will then pass it on to the next generation.

She lives in Ucluelet with her long-term partner and their child.

Another West Coast guest, laughter yoga instructor Ellen Everard, lives in Port Alberni and on the Barkley Sound with her husband Charlie. The former Ellen Brown, she retired from her role as hospital administrator at West Coast General Hospital in Alberni.

“Ellen brims with positivity, and she gets us all chuckling with her laughter yoga. It’s a wonderful gift to our attendees, and it’s really healthful. We can take what we learn from her and use it throughout the day,” Carmichael said.

READ MORE: Port Alberni author gives voice to diversity of First World War participants

READ MORE: Tofino Poet Laureate urges West Coast to engage with reading

Other presenters on the Jan. 4 Yakfest guest panel include artist/author Yvonne Maximchuk of Campbell River (Drawn to Sea: Paintbrush to Chainsaw—Carving Out a Life on BC’s Rugged Raincoast, and Colour the British Columbia Coast) Emily Olsen of Saanich (founder of the Connection Project), and children’s science author L.E. Carmichael of Ontario (The Boreal Forest, Fuzzy Forensics, Foxtalk).

“It’s part book club, part hen party, part learning conference—and all fun,” said Carmichael.

With guest panelists, door prizes and a dose of warmth and good humour, the series aims to provide a hub activity during the pandemic winter, and the response so far has been heartening.

“We have unique needs for connection and socialization—and those are a bit harder to fill during times of increased isolations,” Carmichael said. “We can hear and be heard, see and be seen. This band of volunteers coming together to lighten the way has been really encouraging.”

Women anywhere are welcome to tune in; there is no cost. To learn more about the Yakfest Series, email to Carmichael.jacqueline@gmail.com. Anyone interested in participating in the Jan. 4 Yakfest can register for free via Eventbrite.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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