As June, also known as National Indigenous History Month, comes to an end, we recognize that our reconciliation journey needs to continue all year round. Building a truly equitable region starts with understanding the history of the region and the peoples who have called this land home for thousands of years and working towards an equitable relationship with Indigenous peoples.
The ELN is working towards reconciliation by helping to first raise awareness about the impact of colonialism on Indigenous people, partnering with Indigenous organizations and investing in indigenous leaders through our programming, and is committed to continually learning and improving our approach.
This month we’re shining the spotlight on resources and organizations where you can learn more and support the good work that’s happening in our region. If you’re interested in learning more about Indigenous Cultures in the GTA, read Local Love’s guides Where to Learn About Indigenous Cultures in the GTA and 6 Must Reads About Indigenous Culture in the GTA.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some awesome Indigenous organizations in our region that are doing amazing work. Check them out, support them, volunteer your time, go to their events, or learn about what they’re doing.
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto
The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (NCCT) is a membership-based charitable organization that offers a range of programs and services based on Indigenous cultural traditions and teachings. Since 1962, NCCT 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 to empower the Indigenous community in Toronto.
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT) directly supports thousands of Aboriginal women and their families every year. The centre began when a dedicated group of Aboriginal women recognized the need for a gathering place in Toronto where Aboriginal[EM1] women could share resources, support one another, and practice their traditional ways. With programs related to housing, families, advocacy, employment, education, and youth, NWRCT provides a safe and welcoming environment for Aboriginal women and their children in the GTA.
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) works to support, advocate for, and build the capacity of member Friendship Centres across Ontario. Friendship Centres are community hubs where Indigenous people living in towns, cities, and urban centres can access culturally-based and culturally-appropriate programs and services every day. Friendship Centres are idea incubators for young Indigenous people attaining their education and employment goals, they are sites of cultural resurgence for Indigenous families who want to raise their children to be proud of who they are, and they are safe havens for Indigenous community members requiring supports.
Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council
The Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) is the leading not-for-profit research, policy, and advocacy organization that addresses the social determinants of health to improve and enhance the socio-economic prospects and cultural well-being of Aboriginal peoples living in the City of Toronto. If you want to learn more about the current situation, aspirations, and challenges facing Aboriginal peoples in the City of Toronto, check out TASSC’s community based research.
Native Women in the Arts
Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is a not-for-profit organization for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women who share the common interest of art, culture, community and the advancement of Indigenous peoples. NWIA connects, trains, and presents emerging, mid-career, and established female artists whose work reflects a commitment to art, culture, community, and the advancement of Indigenous people.
Canadian Roots Exchange
Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) is a community of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth committed to building honest and equitable relationships. Through leadership programs, CRE builds bridges and facilitates dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. The backbone of CRE’s programming is exchanges, bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together to explore their communities, learn about Indigenous culture and history, and build ideas to make Canada a more inclusive place for all.
Of course, these are just a few Indigenous-led organizations doing amazing work. We encourage you to seek out Indigenous organizations in your community and connect to work towards reconciliation together.