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Celebrating National Aboriginal Day 2017

This year, Canada celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, but our history runs much longer than that. You may already be familiar with the saying Canada 150+, it’s getting popular in Vancouver.

On National Aboriginal Day let’s remember why that little “+” makes all the difference.

It’s been two years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report and we continue to acknowledge the full history of our country and its Indigenous peoples.  This morning, July 21, Prime Minister Trudeau began taking steps to ensure Canadians move forward into the next 150 years together. These changes are significant: the changing of the name of the Langevin Block and the renaming of National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples Day.

We as Canadians can help reconciliation with simple expressions and actions of remembrance. Businesses, events and promoters in Vancouver can acknowledge that their gatherings are taking place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish people, the Musqueam, the Squamish and the Tsleil Waututh. 

As individuals we can volunteer our time to our community, include Indigenous writers in our reading lists and lobby for changes to the elementary school curriculum to include information on the Residential School System. We can support Indigenous business owners and artists. By acknowledging the vast history of Canada and its Indigenous people we can build a richer, more inclusive Canada for the future.

The YWCA has always remained acutely aware of the needs of our diverse, beautiful community in Vancouver and across Canada. We are committed to advancing reconciliation and supporting the full realization of equality for Canada’s Indigenous people. YWCA has had a long history of engaging Indigenous peoples in our programs, volunteer base and workforce.

At YWCA Crabtree Corner Community Family Resource Centre, two-thirds of program participants are Indigenous women and families.  We offer culturally-tailored services like the Aboriginal Infant Development program, a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Sacred Circle for Moms, an Intergenerational FASD Support Group and Books, Bags and Babies, and an early literacy program that incorporates Indigenous traditions. We also host the YWCA Circle of Sisters Indigenous Mentorship Program, which provides opportunities for Indigenous girls and women to connect with community, culture and tradition with the help of elders and skilled facilitators. Our Strive employment program helps youth who are transitioning or have transitioned out of foster care gain life and employability skills so they can achieve independence in their lives. This program is funded in part by United Way Lower Mainland.

If you’d like to know more about these programs or to donate, please contact Adina Spivak at aspivak@ywcavan.org | 604 895 5789

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