Okanagan Indian Band Elder Virginia Gregoire offered words in nsqilxwcen regarding the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic in a video published March 28.
“We’re having a hard time right now,” she started.
“Long time ago, people said that if you are scared of the sickness then it will come from you,” she said in nsqilxwcen. “I don’t know if that is true, but when you go somewhere you pray for yourself to be safe.”
She said you don’t have to go to church to pray, but prayer is helpful in times like these.
“Pray for your family and everyone that has to go to work for us to have what we need,” she said, according to a translated transcript.
Pray for the land, too, she added.
“Our land is important.”
OKIB Chief Byron Louis offered his thanks to the elder in the video.
“We thought this was important to bring you this prayer from our Elder Virginia Gregoire who graciously volunteered to do this,” he said.
He reassured viewers that appropriate social distancing measures were taken into account in the filming of the video.
“Our Elders are among the most important members of the community and we must always protect them,” Chief Louis said. “With that in mind, there will be no physical contact and all information sharing will be done electronically.
“That way, we are protecting our Elders and we request you do the same.”