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Kilala Update: February In Review

 33rd Annual Woman’s Memorial March

For 33 years, on February 14th folks have taken over the streets of the Downtown Eastside to march and honour the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit persons. 

Importantly, the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ findings characterized this violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people as genocide. This highlights how deeply this day serves for folks to mourn losses, lay spirits to rest, and call on all of Turtle Island to raise awareness that can lead to tangible action towards ending MMIWG2S+. Staff and members alike from Kilala Lelum and the broader community were plentiful in attendance. The medicine and songs were palpable and powerful this year and did so much that I am still processing myself. 

However, the work does not stop with the march. Make sure to visit and support safe-passage.ca to learn more about the initiative created by the Native Woman’s Association of Canada. Safe Passage is a community-driven project that tracks cases of MMIWG2S+ and creates a space to work towards ending this genocide and restoring our Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit persons’ place in this world as loved and honoured members of the community

Shared Spaces: Hogan's Alley and Vancouver Black Library

As Black History Month comes to a close it is integral that we continue the conversation about this history and the spaces that we overlap and share as an Indigenous organization with Vancouver’s Black
Community. By recognizing and fostering these connections, we uplift each other. Through this solidarity, both communities can grow and thrive together!

On that note, we should turn our attention to the history of the very land we operate on as Kilala Lelum. Namely, the history of Hogan’s Alley. Located at the southwestern edge of Strathcona Hogan’s Alley holds the history of Vancouver’s first Black community. This area was a
hub of culture and life that included well-known spaces such as the restaurant “Vie’s Chicken and Steak”. Moreover, this community housed the very Nora Hendrix, something you might notice if you’ve ever
visited the Nora Hendrix Place on Union Street. 

While the City of Vancouver pushed to displace this community between 1967 and 1971 to ultimately construct the Georgia viaduct, efforts today are underway to reestablish this neighbourhood as a thriving hub of Black culture that honours its history.

In line with this is an important organization that everyone should support and check out. Located on Keefer Street is the Vancouver Black Library. They are doing incredible work to create resources and a space by and for BIPOC folks! Learn more through their Instagram – @vanblacklibrary.

Honouring Manitoba's Founder: Louis Riel Day

As the founder of Manitoba and a notable leader of the Métis people, the third Monday of February is dedicated to celebrating him and the vision he had for our people and unity in embracing all cultures across this land we share.

Cultural Nights at VAFCS

Head over to the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society on Wednesdays to access and take part in various cultural programs going on. From 5:30pm to 7:30pm you can join in and learn about Métis culture. As well, come in from 6:00pm to 11:00pm and join West Coast Family Night to learn more about their culture and identity through song and dance.