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Westbank First Nation woman dances to heal a community

Click to play video: 'Jingle dancing to heal an Okanagan community' Jingle dancing to heal an Okanagan community
WATCH: A Westbank First Nation woman performed a jingle dance to offer healing and prayer to those actively experiencing addiction and homelessness outside of Metro Community in Kelowna. Sydney Morton has more. – Dec 1, 2020

In every step and jingle, Jamie Stimson has a prayer for a community.

“My prayers today are going to be dedicated to those affected by the overdose crisis and to their families,” said Stimson, Westbank First Nation.

“And also dedicated to the homelessness situation and I pray that we can come together.”

Jingle dresses are worn by women and young girls are regularly seen at powwows. The dresses have metal cones that jingle as the women move and the shape and sound are said to spread healing.

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Stimson’s dance outside of Metro Community, a faith-based outreach centre in Kelowna, is dedicated to helping those actively experiencing addiction and homelessness.

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“I want to help others who have been affected by life on the street, I want to help those who have been involved in the sex trade, I also want to be an advocate for the missing and murdered Indigenous women because I lost my mom, my mother was murdered in 1980 on the streets in Calgary,” said Stimson.

“It’s very special to have someone with her background whose come from addiction and homelessness herself and who has such a redemptive story and a lovely way of expressing that to other people,” said Graham Ord, Metro Community.

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“My heart is heavy this time of the year because I am a recovering addict myself. I used to live on the streets I was in and out of addiction since I was 14 and my heart gets heavy for those who I see who are living on the street because I know how it feels,” said Stimson.

“They didn’t choose that life, they weren’t born an addict, they didn’t choose to be homeless. Every one of them has a story of their own and the real issues lie deeper within.”

Stimson has now been clean and sober for over three years and is a student at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus attending classes with her daughter. And she is dedicating her life to helping others by hosting Wellbriety meetings, sharing her story and through dance.

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Her dance that provides healing has now spread through the streets of downtown Kelowna that many call home as temperatures continue to drop.

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