Nuslhiixwta – “A Place of Treasures” and formerly known as Healthy Beginnings, held its first “Apcwakm” (uplifting of the babies) and unveiled its new logo at the Songhouse on the banks of the Bella Coola on Monday, April 15.
The organization, which provides family support and pregnancy outreach services for the Valley, has undergone a major transformation in the past year.
“I started in January 2018 and I am privileged to be in service of this community,” said Program Manager Lisa Tallio. “We are committed to community engagement, and this ceremony is part of that. We are upholding our new babies and together we are sharing the responsibility of raising them.”
Elders, family members, Acwsalcta students and community members gathered to witness first the unveiling of the new logo, which was designed by master carver Alvin Mack.
The logo, which features a treasure box encircled by a raven, is meant to embody the spirit of the name Nuslhiixwta, and the staff members will be wearing it on their vests as they conduct their work.
Family members and members of the Staltmc (hereditary chiefs) were present to witness the 10 babies receiving names and being uplifted by the community. As each name was given, family members and the hereditary chiefs were tasked with the responsibility of remembering the child’s Nuxalk name and, more importantly, referring to them by it from then on.
Many of the names reflected how the parents referred to their children before they were born or were characteristic of the young child now.
“The House of Nuslhiixwta is now bringing back this very important Apcwakm, uplifting ceremony,” explained cultural leader Iris Siwallace.
“It takes a whole community to raise a child, and today we are a part of that.”