Toward Truth and Reconciliation
As YWCA Metro Vancouver pursues a path of reconciliation, the organization is taking steps to educate staff and encourage deeper learning about this country’s history, while fostering relationships with and supporting Indigenous leaders.
September 30 marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day of reflection, action in supporting Indigenous communities and celebrating Indigenous cultures and teachings. On September 29, the YWCA offered staff the opportunity to watch the film Hidden Legacies, directed by Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson.
The event was hosted by Viola Thomas, YWCA Indigenous Relations Manager, and April Beaver, YWCA Aboriginal Infant Development Program Regional Advisor/Consultant at Crabtree Corner and Co-Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation staff committee. The film explores the experiences, struggles and resilience of intergenerational survivors of residential schools, and was a deeply emotional experience for many. Following the screening, there was time to reflect and share on learnings, led by members of YWCA equity committees.
We closed the event by watching a video for the song We Won’t Forget You, written, recorded and filmed with students from Sk'elep School of Excellence in Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc, Kamloops, BC.
We are grateful to members of the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society for joining us for added emotional support.
The YWCA released a set of guidelines for staff to help reflect on and compose personal territorial acknowledgments. Several staff members participated in a live workshop on Transformative Territorial Acknowledgements with Len Pierre Consulting; these guidelines were built on the lessons learned from that seminar. Further opportunities for seminars on this topic will be available to staff in the near future.
We are excited to work together as an organization to gain deeper understanding of this practice, and to gain confidence and humility in recognizing our individual relationship to the land we occupy.
Keeping Families Together
On June 15, 2022, the YWCA held its Annual General Meeting, which included a public panel event to address the child welfare system and finding solutions to improve it. The panel was hosted by YWCA Indigenous Relations Manager, Viola Thomas, and panelists included Mary Teegee, Executive Director of Child and Family Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services; Cheyenne Stonechild, Founder of 4 the Generation Project; Frances Rosner, Lawyer practicing in family and prison law; and Grace Tait, Associate Director at YWCA Crabtree Corner Community.
We are grateful to Elder Glida Morgan for her prayers and territorial acknowledgement, and to the 222 people who attended the event online and in person.
“This event was very powerful. Everyone who spoke brought stories and reflections that motivate and inspire action and a sense of collective community.”
“Thank you for bringing together such an amazing collective of women.”
For more information about the YWCA’s work in truth and reconciliation, please contact Tamara Roberston-Fry at firstname.lastname@example.org | 604 895 5860.
Indigenous children account for 68% of all children in foster care in BC, despite only representing around 6% of the population (as of Census 2016).
Join us in calling on government officials to honour key legislation that addresses systemic racism and ongoing discrimination of Indigenous peoples. We are asking them to honour what each Declaration, Act, Report and Mandate says about addressing Indigenous Child Welfare systems.
For a list of elected officials and an easy-to-use template that calls for action, visit: