Linked with the National Association of Friendship Centres.
She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Kama Steliga, born 1967 in Kenniwick, Washington State, USA, came to Canada when she was ten. She is the executive director and driving force behind The Lillooet Friendship Centre Society, an Aboriginal organization that supports individual, family, and community empowerment through culturally sensitive programs and services. Her work at Lillooet Friendship Centre has led to her advising and assisting similar operations at a provincial level …
… Sarah Chandler says about Kama’s work: “it is an outstanding example of bridge-building between cultures, while at the same time protecting and promoting human dignity, human rights, and fundamental freedoms”. (1000peacewomen).
She is elected Secretary of the National Association of Friendship Centres (scroll down).
She signs the Opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq, Jan. 2, 2006.
Kama Steliga – Canada
Kama Steliga always speaks her mind and has become quite vocal in her opposition to established authorities who downplay social problems in her home town of Lillooett. For example, government officials have denied Lillooett funding for the homeless because it has a population of fewer than 5,000. According to officials, such a small town can not have a problem with homelessness. “Tell that to the people living under the bridge outside town,” says Kama.
She believes communities need a healthy mix of self-reliance and support from outside sources. Especially disappointing to her are recent cuts in the latter. “I really believe in the Liberal motto ‘Communities taking care of communities,’” she says. “But the cuts took away our ability to do that. They were too deep, too broad, too fast, and without enough forethought. There just didn’t seem to be any kind of humane strategy to deal with social health.”
Lack of resources especially touches Kama when she sees the direct effect on individuals. She notes that the population relying on Lillooet’s food bank for meals has swelled to 300 people a month, about 10 percent of the town’s population.
In this small rural Canadian town devasted by a poor economy, government funding cutbacks, and racial tension, Kama Steliga has provided much needed leadership and inspiration. She has
organized a community to action while instilling in its citizens tolerance, compassion and understanding for those of differing ethnicities, those suffering the seen and unseen wounds of trauma, and those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
She says also:”I welcome the opportunity to empower communities and to be part of a movement that encourages diversity and acceptance. I wanted to work here because I love the emphases on community family and individuals.” (1000peacewomen).
… This winter, Kama Steliga, the executive director of the Lillooet Friendship Centre, saw an increase in use of Lillooet’s food bank to 300 people a month, about 10 percent of the town’s population. She’s seen an elderly couple suddenly lose their benefits and try to survive on a combined
income of less than $370 a month. She’s been told that because Lillooet has fewer than 5,000 people it cannot have a problem with homelessness, making the town ineligible for related funding. “Tell that to the people living under the bridge outside town,” she says … (full text).
Like a lot of people in Lillooet and throughout BC’s rural regions, (Kama) Steliga is strong on self-reliance, but shaken by the severity of cuts to her community’s hospital, schools and social services. (BC politics).
And she says: “It’s about a thousand acts around the world to create change. It’s about recognizing the community development work done by women, which is not often recognized” … commenting on the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 project.
Over 220 Signatures Collected for Appeal Launched at UNPFII in New York, 03 May 2008
The garden within her … her comment about the 1000peacewomen project;
Directory March 2007 of British Columbia for Multicultural, Antiracism, Immigrant and Community Service Orgs, 40 pages