Families come together for night of cooking and fun in Kelowna

Local aboriginal gathered at Springvalley Middle School this week for something a little out of the norm — they were there to have some fun and cook together.

The idea came from Aboriginal student advocate Kathy Thibeault, who has lived on reserves that held healthy cooking classes for the whole family. She’s been waiting patiently for the opportunity to hold one herself.

Thibeault teamed up with her colleague, Stephanie Kenequonash and cooking instructor Lois Aeckersberg to make her dream come to life. It was supported by a Winter Wellness Grant from the First Nations Health Authority for $1,000.

“The whole idea is to get enough food for each family to cook it in the classroom and bring that hot dish home and then enough for them to also take home ingredients to make it together again,” said Thibeault. “We approached them (the kids) saying we have this idea, come and have some fun.”

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The women decided to make breakfast for dinner, chorizo sausage with eggs, yams and kidney beans, they provided all the ingredients and Aekersberg lead the families by demonstrating each step.

While dinner was in the oven, Kenequonash led parents and their kids in making Smudge bundles from the four sacred plants; sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco.

“We really want the teachers to pop in and say ‘hi’ to the parents. We wanted to create a positive experience with parents coming into the school, not just because their child might be in trouble,” said Thibeault.

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Ryan Lomax was there with two of his eight children, Taizer and Sage looks forward to trying to cook together more as a family.

“It’s a good thing we should do, especially having the little kids work together,” said Lomax. Who said he enjoyed spending the time cooking with his children at the event.

The program was able to run for three consecutive nights and Thibeault is already planning on applying for another grant to host a cooking class once again.

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Lenore and Kyleigh Firingstoney make Smudge Bundles with Stephanie Kenequonash, Aboriginal student advocate at Springvalley Middle School photo:Sydney Morton Lenore and Kyleigh Firingstoney make Smudge Bundles with Stephanie Kenequonash, Aboriginal student advocate at Springvalley Middle School photo:Sydney Morton
Lenore, Haidyn and Kyleigh Firingstoney making Smudge Bundles with Stephanie Kenequonash, Aboriginal student advocate at Springvalley Middle School photo:Sydney Morton
Ingredients to make breakfast for dinner at Springvalley Middle School photo:Sydney Morton
Extra groceries for the families to take home and make the dish again photo: Sydney Morton
Lenore and Kyleigh Firingstoney cooking together at Springvalley Middle School photo: Sydney Morton

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