Walleye Weekend continues to support SLMHC’s Miichim program
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Participants of this year’s Walleye Weekend fishing tournament, conducted by Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters, have donated over 400 fish to the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre’s (SLMHC) Miichim (Traditional Foods) program.
“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,” shared a SLMHC media release. Along with donating to the Miichim program, this annual event has also been donating fish to the First Step Women’s Shelter, Sioux Lookout Out of the Cold shelter, and the Senior’s Centre at Sioux Towers, shared SLMHC board member Terry Jewell, who has been working on tournament donations for several years. Jewell said that these donations ensure that no fish are wasted.
A member of the Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters, Dorothy Broderick shared that participants often choose to donate their fish on day one, day two, or both days rather than keep them. She added that unless individuals are planning a supper with friends, four fish is a lot to eat, and that the participants may also not have someone to legally gift their catch to on the first day.
Broderick explained, “The Ontario fishing regulations dictate that you may only have a set limit (four) of walleye in your possession at any given time. Those include what you have at home. Therefore, in order to fish on day two and keep their catches legally, they donate what they can’t consume or gift. The second reason is that many fishers support the hospital and the Miichim program itself. We know the value of what nature provides. We know that it is better for people to eat locally harvested foods rather than foods that have to be processed and transported great distances. Better for you and for the environment.”
SLMHC’s media release added that 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, SLMHC Executive Lead for Indigenous Collaboration & Relations. “I’m really thankful that Terry and his wife Terry Lynne 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 Lynne Jewell. Several other individuals also contributed to make this happen.
SLMHC’s news release states that 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.
Anyone interested in donating wild game or other items to SLMHC’s Traditional Program can reach out to the Traditional Programs Department at 807-737-6561.