YWCA Staff wearing orange shirts in support of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
We Advocate For

Truth and Reconciliation

The legacy of colonial injustices continues to profoundly impact Indigenous peoples through economic disparities, social and cultural inequities and intergenerational trauma.

YWCA Metro Vancouver is committed to acknowledging historical truths, developing a deeper understanding of the impacts of colonialism, building stronger relationships with Indigenous communities, advocating for systems change and actively contributing to the process of reconciliation.

  • Cultural disruption and suppression. Colonial policies aimed at assimilation and purposeful erasure of Indigenous languages, spiritual practices and cultural traditions. 

  • Widespread land dispossession. Colonial expansion and land ownership disrupted traditional ways of life tied to the land.

  • Families broken apart. Residential schools, integral to assimilation policies, forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families, erased languages and suppressed cultures through abusive practices, resulting in intergenerational trauma for many.

  • Economic marginalization. Unfair treaties, resource exploitation and discriminatory economic policies contribute to persistent economic disparities and further marginalization of Indigenous communities. 

  • Health disparities. Inadequate and racist healthcare systems, untreated trauma and a loss of access to traditional medicines exacerbate lowered social determinants of health for many.

  • Legal and political injustices. Colonial systems imposed legal and political structures undermining Indigenous governance, with frequent disregard for treaties and discriminatory laws that further marginalized Indigenous peoples.

  • Advocacy. The YWCA is pursuing equity and justice alongside Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people. Our policy initiatives include: 
    - Demanding meaningful progress from all levels of government on the 231 Calls for Justice and the 94 Calls to Action.
    - Mobilizing for change to the child welfare system. Like other allied organizations, our intention is to uplift and amplify the expertise and lived experience of Indigenous leaders, Elders, parents and advocates to reclaim and transform child welfare in BC.
    - Advocating for a Red Dress Alert to immediately inform the public when an Indigenous woman, girl or Two Spirit person goes missing.
    - Advocating for governments to prioritize targeted poverty reduction measures for Indigenous people.

  • Understanding our past. As an organization with a long history, we are committed to better understand, acknowledge and address our complicity in historic and current colonial practices. To make steps, we are archiving our historic materials, researching the catalogue and developing a plan for redress.

  • Programs and services. Some of our innovative programs like YWCA FASD Key Worker Program, Books, Bags & Babies and Indigenous Mentorship have been serving Indigenous youth and families for many years. We are committed enhancing service to Indigenous community members by continuing to listen to their needs and responding with culturally appropriate programs and support.

  • Celebration. Through community events and learning opportunities, we will continue to spotlight, elevate and celebrate Indigenous organizations, individuals, cultures and ways of life.