NIȽ TU,O: in the beginning – NIȽ TU,O Presents the 11th Annual HEUIST TŦE ḴELAḴ Honour the Babies Celebration

by Katharina Stocker | photo courtesy NIȽ TU,O Child & Family Services – 

NIȽ TU,O’s 11th Annual HEUIST TŦE ḴELAḴ Honour the Babies Event – a celebration of new life in the Tsawout, Tseycum, Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Songhees, T’Sou-ke, and Beecher Bay communities – will take place on April 10, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Saanich Fairgrounds.

Guests at this year’s annual HEUIST TŦE ḴELAḴ Honour the Babies Celebration can expect a room full of smiles, laughter and celebration as NIȽ TU,O honours babies born in 2023 to the South Vancouver Island Coast Salish communities that NIȽ TU,O serves.

This year’s event is the 11th Annual Honour the Babies Celebration, marking over a decade of welcoming new life to the communities. The event will feature door prizes, a delicious lunch and a wonderful opportunity for families to connect with one another and meet with other Coast Salish families from other communities. It’s also a chance for families to learn about and engage with the resources available through NIȽ TU,O Child and Family Services Society, and other community service providers which will assist in fostering a nurturing environment for Coast Salish children right from the start.

The event will feature information on resources and services available from community agencies such as Beacon Community Services, BCAA, CCRR, Parent Legal Centre, COHI, Bridges for Women, Diabetes Nurse, Panorama Rec, Esquimalt Rec and 1000 x 5 books. There will be special gifts and door prizes for the 2023 babies from Ocean Discovery Centre, Butterfly Gardens, Tanners Books, Red Barn, and Floyd’s, to name a few. Participating families (inclusive of grandparents) will have the opportunity to see the work being done by NIȽ TU,O and other community-minded organizations to ensure Coast Salish families are not only honoured but also supported. During the ceremony, the new babies will be honoured in a blanketing ceremony. The blankets represent warmth and protection and wrap the babies in love.

The 11th Annual HEUIST TŦE ḴELAḴ Honour the Babies Celebration is just one of the many ways NIȽ TU,O supports families through parenthood. Formed in 1997 in response to the disproportionate number of Coast Salish children in foster care, NIȽ TU,O provides an abundance of confidential, culturally safe Family Strengthening Programs and Support Services to Coast Salish families. Those interested in obtaining NIȽ TU,O’s services are encouraged to learn more at or by calling 250-544-1400 and asking for confidential intake.

All families affiliated with the Tsawout, Tseycum, Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Songhees, T’Sou-ke, or Beecher Bay communities who have welcomed a new life in 2023 are invited. Interested families can send a photo of a printed and filled-out registration form ( to: or fill out the online form at before the registration deadline on March 31, 2024.

Please include your baby’s birth certificate.


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