Our NUICC staffer shares her conversations with coalitions. By Sarah Chahley
Indigenous Peoples in what is now called Canada are incredibly diverse, and while having often been blanketed as having the same or similar cultures, there are at least 70 distinct Indigenous languages spoken across this land today, not to mention the ones that have been lost due to colonial history. While we do have some shared experiences, such as the historical impacts of colonialism and displacement, today an ever-increasing number of Indigenous people live in population centres. Urban spaces can pose challenges for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, due to the feeling of disconnection from family, community and traditional territory.
Too often, settler Canadians see us through a pan-Indigenous lens, as if we are merely Indigenous Canadians, when in fact we have different songs, dances, spiritual practices and ways of cleansing and healing. Our many distinct cultural values are rooted in land, in relationships, and grounded in values of respect, family, culture and community. In my work engaging NUICC coalitions I have had the privilege of connecting with many urban Indigenous coalitions. It has been an honour to witness the work of care and consideration that community groups, friendship centres and individuals have been doing through these diverse coalitions to support our communities far and wide. Indigenous people are stronger together, and witnessing the inspiring work that is happening from coast to coast to coast demonstrates NUICC’s value.
Urban Indigenous coalitions take different forms, with participation from a variety of stakeholders. Here are some examples of the inspiring and incredible work happening on the ground across the cities and towns where 73–84% of Canada’s urban Indigenous population lives. These conversations capture only a fraction of the ongoing community work that is advancing urban Indigenous causes, and we look forward to sharing ongoing dialogues with our readers across cities and urban spaces at nuicc.ca and in future issues.
Read the entire article here: pg. 76 (EN, FR).