Almost a decade ago community organizer Melinda Mack attended a conference in Edmonton with two friends. It would prove to be both life-changing and inspiring, and propelled her to organizing a similar event here at home.
“In 2008 I attended a sexual abuse conference in Edmonton along with Jeanette Apps and Cynthia Pootlass. I was so moved by the experience that I wanted to bring something similar back home to Bella Coola,” said Mack. “In 2009 we were fortunate enough to have Susan Aglukark speak at our very first ‘Dancing in the Light’ conference and the following year Theo Fleury came to Bella Coola to share his experience.”
In addition to organizing two “Dancing in the Light” conferences, Mack has also coordinated several members of the BC Lions to deliver their “Be More Than a Bystander – Ending Violence” presentation in local schools and the community at large.
This year Mack has scheduled several well-known hosts and speakers for the third “Dancing in the Light” conference which will take place June 21 and 22, 2016.
Self-described “professional funny person” Ryan McMahon, a First Nations comedian, will be hosting a workshop on the morning of June 21. Speakers include returning hosts Susan Aglukark, Theo Fleury, JR LaRose and Will Loftus. Tracey Porteous from the Ending Violence Association will also be presenting.
Nola Mack who works for the Nuxalk Nation Transition House Society in Bella Coola and is partnering with ‘Dancing in the Light’ to host a fashion show with Nuxalkmc youth to highlight First Nations culture and youth empowerment. For more information or to participate contact Nola at (250) 799-0070 or (604) 202-3724.
“Throughout the years I have met many inspirational people. It is my feeling that these people have come to Bella Coola for a reason and have been a part of the healing process taking place,” said Mack. “It is my pleasure to invite your community to come to Bella Coola and experience the “Dancing in the Light” conference once again.”