September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day meant to commemorate children who died in church-run and government funded residential “schools”, along with survivors and communities still affected by their lasting trauma.
Please consider supporting the following organizations, and scroll to the bottom for some Indigenous media resources compiled by staff.
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Indian Residential School Survivors Society provides essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas. These impacts affect every family and every community across B.C. and Canada. This fact is most evident in the Corrections Canada Services-the numbers of First Nations people incarcerated, Child and Family Services child apprehensions, the high number of people on social assistance, unemployment and underemployed, lower levels of education, the lowest number within an ethnic minority of “determinants of health”, the list of impacts is extremely high while the services available to effectively assist impacts of Residential Schools remain quite low. One of the Society’s goals is to continually expand support to partner organizations and maximize access to culturally sensitive, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual care.
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction (TIHR) emerged in April 2020 during the first wave of the COVID19 pandemic in response to a massive shutdown of frontline services and a lack of basic needs for Indigenous houseless folks in the city of Toronto. Over the past year, they have provided basic needs, access to critical health support & covid 19 testing, harm reduction supplies, sexual, reproductive health and prenatal support, traditional medicines, traditional food, expressive arts, and ceremony to some of their most vulnerable people. TIHR aims to reduce the negative impacts of substance use and other stigmatized behaviours and experiences through culture and unconditional support. TIHR is an entirely queer and Two-Spirit Indigenous collective founded by Nanook Gordon Fareal, co led by Brianna Olson Pitawanakwat and supported by Dashmaawaan Bemadzinjin (They feed the people) and countless volunteers. To date they have served over 3,000 meals to the encampments and Indigenous street folks.
Native Arts Society
Native Arts Society was established in 2021 by Brianna Olson Pitawanakwat and Nanook Gordon Fareal. An Indigenous and 2S owned gallery and studio space located in so-called Toronto, ON, grounded in values of Indigenous self-determination in the arts, the Native Arts Society is a grassroots space that supports the flourishing of art that is rarely platformed, with a focus on art created by the street community, incarcerated or recently incarcerated artists, and contemporary Inuit artists.
A non-profit registered charity founded by five grandmothers in 1973 to respond to the needs of Toronto’s Indigenous women. It first opened as a hostel, and now provides emergency shelter and second stage transitional housing to women and their children fleeing violence. They make culturally-inclusive, safe spaces available for those who come through our doors to focus on their healing and wellness journey.
Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin “They Feed the People”
A food sovereignty program providing traditional meals to Indigenous seniors & community members. Dashmaawaan Bemadzinjin has provided 2000 meals to Indigenous people in the encampments and on the streets since June of last year. The memories of home and the connection to community are medicine, and each Sunday, when they prepare a feast for houseless people (rain or shine), Dashmaawaan Bemadzinjin gathers and honours them, their spirits, and their lives. Many of them are elders who have lived houseless for most of their time in urban centres like Toronto.
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto
Since 1962 the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto has been a key meeting place for all people, of all nations, from across Canada and all over the world. As Toronto’s oldest Indigenous community organization and one of the original Friendship Centres in Canada, the NCCT provides social, recreational, cultural and spiritual services for the Indigenous community and visitors alike.
Centre for Indigenous Theatre
CIT offers a three year, full-time conservatory-style post-secondary education with an optional 4th year where students have the opportunity to create a work of their own. Their programming is designed to prepare students for a future in theatre and performing Arts, drawing from a distinctively Indigenous cultural foundation. Their training is rooted in Indigenous teachings, knowledge, perspectives and ways of knowing while adapting to contemporary and Western theatre and performance techniques.
Native Women’s Resource Centre
Native Women’s Resource Centre provides a safe and welcoming environment for all Indigenous women and their children in the Greater Toronto Area. Their programs offer wrap around blanket services to address and support Basic Needs, Housing, Families, Advocacy, Employment, Education, Healing from Trauma, and Access to Ceremonies and Traditional Practitioners/ Healers. NWRCT aims to build confidence and capacity within the collective community. They host a variety of Cultural Activities for clients and the general public, including the Minaake Awards, Sisters In Spirit Vigil, and Winter Solstice.
2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations
2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations provides prevention education and support for 2-Spirit, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit people living with or at risk for HIV and related co-infections in the Greater Toronto Area. They base their work on indigenous philosophies of wholistic health and wellness.
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training provides the Greater Toronto Area’s Aboriginal community with training initiatives and employment services. Miziwe Biik is committed to assisting all persons of Aboriginal* ancestry to attain a better quality of life. They are committed to strengthening the community through partnerships that promote equality and self-reliance. They provide training and employment opportunities in a supportive environment in which people can affirm their Aboriginal* identities and develop to their fullest potential.
*First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit, and Metis
Idle no more
Idle no more started in November 2012, among Treaty People in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta protesting the Canadian government’s dismantling of environmental protection laws, endangering First Nations who live on the land. Born out of face-to-face organizing and popular education, but fluent in social media and new technologies, Idle No More has connected the most remote reserves to each other, to urbanized Indigenous people, and to the non-Indigenous population. Led by women, and with a call for refounded nation-to-nation relations based on mutual respect, Idle No More rapidly grew into an inclusive, continent-wide network of urban and rural Indigenous working hand in hand with non-Indigenous allies to build a movement for Indigenous rights and the protection of land, water, and sky.
1492 Landback Lane
1492 Landback Lane is made up of Six Nations Land Defenders who have mobilized to stop the Mackenzie Meadows housing development project bordering the town of Caledonia. Mackenzie Meadows is one of several housing developments within the area that are directly violating the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee.
A small selection of Indigenous media resources
- Billy-Ray Belcourt
- Stephen Graham Jones
- Drew Hayden Taylor
- Thomas King
- Eden Robinson
- Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
- Tanya Talaga
- Tanya Tagaq
- Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass)
- Joshua Whitehead
- A Treaty Guide for Torontonians
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- Jeremy Dutcher
- The Halluci Nation
- Northern Cree
- Buffy Sainte-Marie
- David Strickland
- Snotty Nose Rez Kids
- Tanya Tagaq
- Mato Wayuhi