The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness Coalition celebrated the creation of an Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness.
First Nations’ chiefs and band representatives from across the Island gathered at the Esquimalt Big House to demonstrate collective support for the new coalition. In attendance at the event were representatives from the Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Kwakwaka’wakw peoples.
A drum was signed as a symbolic gesture of support and willingness to engage in a dialogue about solutions and common goals.
“I cannot emphasize enough the need for us as aboriginal people to form a coalition to tackle the issues of our homeless,” said James Wilson, chairman of the Kwakiutl District Council.
“We need to reach out and re-connect with our family members that are separated from us for whatever the reason. We must create opportunities for our People to rekindle their spirit in their own traditional teachings, cultural values and beliefs. An Aboriginal Coalition can work to create those opportunities and more, through collaborative approaches and ideas.”
A disproportionate number of the individuals facing homelessness in Greater Victoria come from an aboriginal background.
“We need to engage the collective wisdom of the Aboriginal communities from the entire island in order to address the unique challenges that are causing aboriginal homelessness,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.