Urban Indigenous Safety Collective
The Urban Indigenous Safety Collective (UISC) is a team of Safety Navigators supporting Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people to meet basic needs, access resources and services, achieve wellness goals, and feel safer in our community. Our goal is to remove barriers to safety and healing caused by gender-based violence, poverty, discrimination, colonialism, and other systemic harms.
We are available to meet with any Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ kin in our community. We are located in the VAHS cultural program space at 449 East Hastings. You do not have to already be a VAHS patient/client to visit with us!
We can help you with:
- gender-based violence and MMIWG2S+ supports
- safety and wellness planning
- applying for benefits and resources
- Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ supports
- traditional healing and ceremony
- connections to Elders and Knowledge Keepers
- group supports and activities
- system navigation
- goal setting
- meeting basic needs
Please be in touch with us with any questions or to make an appointment. We look forward to connecting with you!
Holistic: Like all VAHS services, our work is rooted in the Medicine Wheel, which reminds us to balance our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. While physical safety is often our most visible or urgent need, we are truly safe when all aspects of our well-being are supported. Feeling safe involves addressing systemic barriers to safety in our lives, from our day-to-day needs to our connections to culture and community.
Decolonial: UISC works to decolonize social services by changing the relationship between our community members (or "clients") and service providers. We understand the colonial systems we have to navigate to feel safe and well, and we work to address these systems in culturally grounded ways. Our team offers peer-based supports based on our lived experiences, our traditional teachings, and the systemic changes we want to see in our community.
Gender-Affirming: We understand firsthand the impacts of gender-based violence and barriers to safety that are unique to Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQ+ kin. UISC is proudly and explicitly trans-inclusive and we aim to foster safer environments for all genders and sexual orientations, both within Indigenous spaces and in the broader community.
Strengths-Based: UISC aims to help community members feel safe by supporting each person's goals and hopes for the future, not just their needs or what may be called "deficits." As safety navigators, our goal is to support each person to heal and thrive on their own terms. We help people navigate colonial systems that are designed to harm our health, safety, and wellness. These systems are broken, but our people are strong.
Feminist: Safety and wellness are shaped by the different ways each of us experience racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, colonization, and other systems of power. As intersectional feminists, we honour the diverse identities and experiences within our community, and we work to hold space for equity-denied people who are too often under-represented and under-served by health and social services.
Trauma Informed: As with all VAHS programs, we strive to create an inclusive, welcoming, and culturally safe space to meet people wherever they are at in their own healing journeys. Harm reduction is core to our trauma informed practice, and we honour all experiences with substance use, past or present. We also value restorative justice and cultural pathways to safety and wellness, as defined by each person.