Indigenous Fashion Show and ReMatriate Dialogue at the VPL

In partnership with the Vancouver Public Library, ReMatriate, the Pacific Association of First Nations Women, All My Relations Entertainment and Changemakers Vancouver RISE leader Joleen Mitton organized a spectacular event at the Main Branch of the Vancouver Public Library as part of the VPL’s Multicultural Day Celebration. 

The Shapeshifter Fashion Show became the highlight of the festivities, and unlike anything the library has ever seen before. The show featured a line up of all Indigenous designers and models and ROCKED the VPL promenade. 

Hands up to the designers: Sho Sho Esquiro/ Nadine Spence/ OKA

 Following the show, Rematriate: What To Wear In A Era of Matriation?” invited the whole community to take part in a cultural experience, exploring the depth of creativity amongst notable Indigenous designers, writers, researchers, traditional and contemporary artists, and advocates. Rematriate was a conversation with: Kelly Edzerza Bapty, Beau Dick, Kwiaahwah Jones, and Lisa Charelyboy to raise awareness about the appropriation of Indigenous Cultural Identities.

The event created a space to fuse art, fashion, culture, music and entertainment together to highlight cultural diversity and promote a new path toward equality. Nice work, Joleen, and the rest of the RISE Team who supported this event!

And thank you to the VPL for the use of this beautiful space!


{gallery}RISE fashion show{/gallery}



RISE and Britannia Offer Cultural Activities for Youth at the Newly Constructed Community Carving Pavilion


RISE leader Laura Lewis is currently working to engage neighbourhood youth in cultural activities at Britannia’s newly constructed Carving Pavilion. This is a great opportunity for intercultural learning and sharing and is open to all youth ages 13-18. Carving, storytelling, arts & crafts, fun games and more! Additional information on schedule of activities to come.


October 22nd, 2014: Province transferring ownership of public lands to non-profits while land claims remain outstanding

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Vancouver BC, October 22nd, 2014  
Province transferring ownership of public lands to non-profits while land claims remain outstanding   
Urban Aboriginals seek respectful place-based strategy to secure social housing on crown land recognized as unceded territory by City of Vancouver.   
Urban Aboriginal residents in Vancouver’s inner city are demanding that the Province of British Columbia immediately end plans to transfer ownership of public assets to unspecified non-profit housing organizations, citing a complete lack of community involvement in the decision making process and a failure to recognize traditional Aboriginal interests in the disposition of crown lands.   
Scott Clark, Executive Director of Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society (ALIVE), says the society has been inundated by questions from local residents upset that they have no say in the future of their housing. “Residents and our partners who are working under tremendous challenges to support our most vulnerable children and families firmly believe that we must be consulted to ensure that any devolution process involves all key partners who are committed to building on our existing, evidence-supported, place based approach”, observed Clark.    Continue reading

November 27, 2012: Responding to Inner City Youth at Risk of Suicide

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November 27, 2012

Responding to Inner City Youth at Risk of Suicide

Late last September, a suicide pact was discovered among 30 young people in Vancouver’s Inner City. A coordinated crisis team intervened, admitting 24 to hospital for their own protection. Most of these youth were Aboriginal.

This was not an isolated incident. During the previous spring and summer, groups of young people – primarily 12 and 13 years old — had been drinking to blackout, with a number treated for alcohol overdose at Children’s Hospital.

The youth admitted to hospital in September were fully assessed and wellness plans were put in place. Upon release from hospital, most of the youth went back to drinking. Since then, a few have individually attempted suicide and some have become involved in violent events.

Our children are still very much at risk and we are dismayed at the tepid level of longterm response from those mandated by various systems to care for our youth. The fast approaching holiday season – a time known to increase risk of suicide — will only add to their vulnerability.

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May 14, 2015: It’s Time to Care About Our Children

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For Immediate Release                       

May 14, 2015


It’s Time to Care About Our Children


Today B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth has released yet another report detailing the unnecessary and tragic death of a child. Sadly, this report once again chronicles the abject failure of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and its designated agencies and service partners, to provide protection to a child in need. There is nothing new here. These findings echo many other reports previously released by the Representative’s Office: When Talk Trumps Service, Lost in the Shadows, On Their Own, to name just a few.

Today we have been provided with a full investigation of how Paige, a young person in our community, died.  We are hearing of systems that failed to respond, ignored the lived reality of this child, and failed to embrace or explore the supports and options that could have provided a different outcome. This report documents that in the last years of Paige’s life these service systems dismissed attempts by relatives and community groups to change the trajectory the professionals were facilitating. Both official systems and collaborating service partners willfully ignored her downward spiral, passively documenting her descent. This failure ended with her death.

This tragedy strikes close to home. Paige was known and loved by many in this community. So for us there is anger, there is grieving, and there is horror at how this young girl’s life was lived. There is the guilt and self-questioning, wondering if we could have, should have done more.

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