SLMHC Miichim program receives donation of over 400 fish from Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend fishing tournament
Participants in this year’s annual Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend fishing tournament supported the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre’s (SLMHC) Miichim (Traditional Foods) program by donating 440 fish, totaling approximately 250 pounds, from the tournament.
SLMHC sees generous donations of fish come from this tournament every year, which helps SLMHC provide Miichim foods to all patients twice a week. Traditional food can help to create a healing, comfortable and a familiar environment for patients during their stay at the hospital.
Every year volunteers organize the filleting of the donated fish during the tournament weekend.
“Terry Jewell, on behalf of Meno Ya Win, gets involved by organizing the fish cutting. Every year we usually do it at the beach right where the event is happening but this year, due to COVID-19, we had to set up at his house. We had a lot of tables and basically took up his garage and half his yard,” said Kathy Loon, Executive Lead for Indigenous Collaboration & Relations. “I’m really thankful that Terry and his wife Terry Lynn were able to provide us a place to do this.”
The group of dedicated fish cutters included George Samuel, Doug Vinkle, Don Loon, Donna Loon, Shaun Mekanack, Sandra Mekanack, Tom Chapman, Payton Loon, Dinah Loon, Kathy Loon, Kai Koivukoski, Terry Jewell and Terry Lynn Jewell.
“Tom Chapman drove back and forth to get the fish from the docks. He was helped by Payton Loon, who was getting his high school volunteer hours. My mom (Dinah Loon), Sandra (Mekanack), Shaun (Mekanack), Don (Loon), and Donna (Loon) drove in from Slate Falls to help out. It was a family affair,” Kathy Loon laughed. “We’re fish cutters!”
All traditional food and wild game used by the Miichim program is donated by local hunters, gatherers, outfitters, or tournaments such as the Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend. These donations include such food as moose, caribou, beaver, small game, walleye, trout, geese, ducks, other waterfowl, local blueberries, and wild rice.
This year has seen a decrease in donations to the Miichim program, making the Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend contribution even more crucial.
“It’s truly amazing that we’re able to get this donation. I’m not sure where we would be without this donation and this partnership with the Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend tournament,” said Loon.
“It’s hard to put into words just how important a donation like this is for our Miichim program… If we don’t get donations we can’t run the program,” said Jordan Pchajek, SLMHC Dietary Manager.
The Traditional Program is always seeking donations of wild game or other items. If you are interested in donating to our program or would like more information, please call the Traditional Programs Department at 807-737-6561.
To learn more about our Traditional Foods Program, visit www.slmhc.on.ca/miichim.