New ALIVE Logo by Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel

ALIVE would like to thank Lou-ann Neel for creating this beautiful design, titled ‘In Coast Salish Territory’, to represent our organization and the diverse communities we work with.

Great work Lou-ann!

(Below is an artist statement and bio)

 In Coast Salish Territory

 “In Coast Salish Territory” is an original design created in 2014 by Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel, for the Aboriginal Life In Vancouver Enhancement Society.

 “In Coast Salish Territory” speaks to our diverse communities, as represented by the ‘four stars of the four directions’ that shine brightly in the night sky.

 Two wolves provide protection and guidance to all who roam this land; Sky Spirit Wolf transforms minute by minute, forming the clouds that dance across our coastal communities, keeping our air clean.  Sea Spirit Wolf swims to and fro, creating the hourly tides that grace our coastlines and enable marine life to flourish.  Wolves represent loyalty and strong family ties. Wolves are social and communicative beings, and are very strategic hunters.

 They are integral to the delicate ecosystems that provide us with our homes, our food and our communities, and they protect the mountainous landscape that serves as home to many of our other Original Ancestors.

 Together in a circle of our sacred red cedar bark, these symbols collectively speak to the commitment of the ALIVE Society – to promote, enhance and foster the social, economic, and cultural well-being and health of Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver.

  Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel

 My Kwakwaka’wakw potlatch names are Ika’wega, Kiditl’logw, and Ga’astalaas, and I am from the Kwagiulth, Mamalilikulla, Ma’amtagila, ‘Namgis and Kwickwasutaineuk people of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation.  My grandmother was Ellen Ka’kasolas Neel (nee Newman), and she spent most of her life here in Vancouver, BC.  When I was invited to submit a logo for consideration by ALIVE, I was very honored, as my grandmother was a full time artist in Vancouver from the early 1940’s until her passing in 1966.

 I am now a full time art-school student and practicing artist residing in Vancouver.  I work with artists and community organizations to promote creative, artistic, and cultural activities across the Lower Mainland, and am pleased to support the good work of ALIVE!

Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society

 

ALIVE (Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement) Society exists to promote, enhance and foster the social, economic, and cultural well-being and health of Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver. Working within a place-based framework to develop inclusive strategies to support Aboriginal individuals, families and extended families where they find themselves, ALIVE creates opportunities for urban Aboriginals in the city of Vancouver to fully engage as citizens in their neighborhoods and in the city as a whole. ALIVE was created in 2010 in response to the needs and desires of many urban Aboriginal peoples to seek supports and receive services in a new way. Today we have over 900 members and continue to grow.

We reach out to our community on an ongoing basis to ensure we remain fully accountable to our members and communities to which they belong. ALIVE strives to build effective partnerships and collaboratives, promoting initiatives and strategies that Enhance the experiences of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The recent Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS) supports our findings that the majority of Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver feel empowered to contribute to community life within their neighborhoods and that they can make Vancouver a better place to live. The UAPS reports that for they feel success means a balanced life, close to family and friends, raising healthy, well-adjusted children who contribute positively to the community. A large proportion of Aboriginal peoples in our city report multiple barriers to participation, including feelings of stigmatization and negative experiences accessing supports and resources such as housing, education, childcare and employment. ALIVE believes that, using a place-based strategy, we can create avenues for Aboriginal citizens to have meaningful impacts in their communities and to negotiate their role in the urban ‘place’ on their own terms.

Our approach to service delivery is much broader than the current federal, provincial, and municipal government models which keep us segregated and fund programs through competitive, siloed processes. Our model is outlined in more detail in the attached Reconciliation In Action-2014booklet. We believe that to truly be reflective and relevant, change must be progressive, evidence-based, and involve our citizens and partners. This approach is not endorsed at this time by any government level with the exception of the Vancouver School Board which has endorsed our Graduation Strategy – a partnership developed to ensure all children are fully prepared for each level of education and that all achieve success.

This approach and the principles involved are very similar to the Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) processes many land-based First Nations are now developing. We have been inspired by the work of Musqueam First Nations CCP process, which is described in more detail in the booklet as presented by Musqueam Councillor Wendy Grant-John. Our challenge is very different of course from that of land-based peoples, but the Indigenous principles we have adopted of connecting the social, economic, and environmental variables are quite similar. Our strategic approach is fully supported by BC Representative of Children and Youth, who shares her thoughts in the Reconciliation booklet on the need to embrace evidence-based strategic approaches, beginning with a prenatal lens and continuing to support our children and families through to post secondary graduation.

 ALIVE society is committed to engaging the principles of a place-based philosophy to foster equitable and inclusive communities for Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver. As a resource to the community we have created a document outlining the philosophy as well as specific place-based contexts and practises. Download a PDF of our place-based 2 pager here 

  Or check out our Reconciliation in Action Booklet to learn more about the collective impact, place-based work of ALIVE and our partners    

Where Change Happens Panelist Interviews

ALIVE and Salish Sea Productions took the opportunity to interview each panelist at our Where Change Happens- Reconciliation in Action event that took place on June 20th, 2014.  

In these short vignettes, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Dr. Evan Adams and Wendy Grant-John offer insight into the development of sustainable, evidence-based approaches to fostering the health and well-being of the urban Aboriginal population. 

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 COMING SOON!

Currently under development is a legacy documentary project that will detail what ‘reconciliation in action’ looks like, highlighting the place-based work ALIVE is currently involved with in the community, as we work with our partners to connect services, reduce competition, and enhance access to opportunities, resources and services with our most vulnerable populations.

Scott Clark speaks with the Vancouver Sun for a recent Series on the DTES

Last week, the Vancouver Sun published a series looking at the deep and complex challenges facing Vancouver’s DTES. The articles tackle the inadequate coordination of services and funding in the area, the NIMBYism of other communities which results in the ongoing centralizing of services in the DTES, and the need for an innovative and comprehensive strategy that promises real change.

Scott Clark (ED of ALIVE) offers insight into the steps that decision-makers, including all levels of government, funders, and service-delivery agencies, must take to address the current situation. This means developing a new approach based on principles of empowerment and sustainability, reflective of the needs and aspirations of marginalized groups. Like others, ALIVE believes that all 24 Vancouver communities must become more supportive and inclusive of vulnerable individuals and families including low-income and Aboriginal populations. Too often, the traditional silo-segregated model of service delivery results in duplicated efforts and gaps in service at the expense of already vulnerable groups who continue to ‘fall through the cracks’. The place-based model championed by ALIVE is participatory and people-centred, seeking to build upon and connect existing services and programs to offer coordinated, holistic service responses.  Services and resources must be accessible in all neighbourhoods if we are to make any significant progress towards building healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities in Vancouver where everyone is able to claim their right to occupy and use city space.

Scott Clark, head of the native organization ALIVE which is advocating for positive changes in the Downtown Eastside, outside of the Ray-Cam Community Centre.

The articles:

Downtown Eastside: 260 agencies, housing sites crowd Downtown Eastside

Lack of cooperation means homelessness likely to persist on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Pete McMartin: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is a ghetto made by outsiders

Part three in a series: How are other Canadian cities dealing with homelessness?

The future of the Downtown Eastside: Should they stay or should they go?