The Indigenous Women’s Sharing Society has been in the Comox Valley for nearly a year now, and on Sunday, Jan. 21, it will be unveiling its official home.
The grand opening of the office space the IWSS shares with the Comox Valley Multicultural Society, at 202-576 England Ave. Courtenay, will run from 1-4 p.m. and feature light refreshment and snacks, drumming and entertainment, and an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
The mission statement of the IWSS is “to build respectful networks inclusive of all Nations, where women and kin can work together to share Indigenous and contemporary knowledge and skills, support one another and share talents in a kind and caring environment.”
The IWSS has approximately 60 members, who are involved in many things, from arts programs, to volunteering in the community.
“We formed the society in March of last year,” said Sue Taylor, vice-president, Indigenous Women Sharing Society. “We have a fibre art program. We’ve had several potlucks and workshops… we are still in the process of building our membership and are very happy with the response we’ve had so far.
“We have many women taking part in this and feeling like they are at home here.”
Doris Weislein, president of the IWSS, has plenty of experience working with community organizations.
Since moving to the Comox Valley from Northern Manitoba in the early 1960s, Weislein has been involved with the creation of Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry, as well as the Aboriginal Headstart School, and was part of the group that launched the Wachiay Friendship Centre.
The IWSS is an opportunity for Weislein to continue to not only give back to the community, but also educate it.
“Most importantly, we want to give our knowledge to the people that live in the Valley. We want to let them know how we were raised, how we survived, and to teach them our culture,” she said. “So whether that’s basket-making, drum-making, beadwork and herbs… it’s about keeping the culture alive.”
For more information on the Indigenous Women’s Sharing Society, call Sue Taylor, at 250-331-1099, or Doris Weislein, at 250-338-2352, or email firstname.lastname@example.org