Canada's first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is September 30, 2021. The day is meant to honour the lost children and survivors of Canada's residential schools, as well as their families and communities. For non-Indigenous folks, it's a designated day to reflect and take action, and donating money to Indigenous charities and organizations that support Indigenous people is a good start.
The following is a list I've put together of local groups who are doing great work, plus some details about their programs and how they support Indigenous community members in Vancouver. Many of these organizations have very robust programming that includes youth mentorship, accessible housing, elder support, healthcare, recreation—the list goes on!—that's impossible to reduce to a list, so I encourage you to click on the links for each one to get a better idea of the scope of their work.
Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga'a Dancers, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society Facebook1. Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society
What they do: A sewing club and community garden for elders, sports programs like a basketball league for youth and recreational soccer for adults, pre-employment assistance, support groups for Indigenous parents, a mat and blanket shelter, and more.
A photo from National Indigenous People's Day 2021 / Downtown Eastside Women's Centre Facebook2. Downtown Eastside Women's Centre
What they do: Drop-in centre and 24-hour emergency shelter, a kitchen that provides 500 meals each day and Indigenous women's projects which include Indigenous plant walks, outings for Indigenous women, counseling, cultural and community art projects and workshops.
Pacific Association of First Nations Women Facebook.3. Pacific Association of First Nations Women
What they do: Weekly Zoom drum circles, an elder support program, mentorship programs for youth, Indigenous language classes, home care services, counseling for Indigenous people with missing or murdered family members, an Urban Butterflies program for girls and the PAFNW Awards Fund, which provides post secondary scholarships for Indigenous women.
IndigenEYEZ / Champions of Change program 20184. IndigenEYEZ
What they do: Two streams of programs— one is youth camps that empower Indigenous kids and teens, the other is a two-day workshop for anyone who works with Indigenous communities (nurses, employers, youth leaders, etc.) that teaches ways to engage with Indigenous community members.
Orange Shirt Day 2018 / Aboriginal Mother Centre Society5. Aboriginal Mother Centre Society
What they do: A transformational housing program that offers 16 suites for mothers and children who are at risk of homelessness or child welfare intervention, plus childcare and other programs including parenting workshops, housing and resources workshops, life skills workshops and self-care workshops.
Red Fox Society6. Red Fox Society
What they do: Provide employment training (life skills coaching, work experience and team-building activities) and leadership training for work in the recreation, child-care, cultural and food security fields, offer recreational activities at schools, community centres and parks throughout the city, and organize Indigenous cultural programs in collaboration with community partners.
Kílala Lelum Urban Indigenous Health and Healing Cooperative webstite7. Kílala Lelum Urban Indigenous Health and Healing Cooperative
Urban Native Youth Association Facebook.
8. Urban Native Youth Association
What they do: The UNYA has four major program areas— education and training (including an alternative education program for Indigenous youth), health and wellness (including a mediation program, Aboriginal outreach team and clinical counselling), housing and transition (including an Aboriginal youth safehouse) and Community and Connection (including mentorship, sports and recreation and a 2-Spirit collective).
Elder Ruth Alfred, offering the territorial land acknowledgement and opening the Up-Close 2019 event / WISH Facebook, Wendy D. Photography9. WISH Drop-In Centre Society
What they do: WISH provides a drop-in centre and shelter, mobile outreach services, a health clinic, music therapy and transition services for street-based sex workers in the Downtown Eastside (50 percent of their participants are Indigenous).
Talking Stick Fest Facebook10. Full Circle First Nations Performance
What they do: Workshops and theatre development year-'round, plus the production of the Talking Stick Festival, an annual celebration and showcase of Indigenous performance art.