how to best help First Nations kids/families?
February 24, 2017 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the most bang-for-buck way to help people in Canada. I'm looking for ways to channel my feelings of fear and rage into positive action.

I vaguely remember an initiative from a few years ago where you could send toiletries/groceries to arctic communities where food prices are astronomical. I just discovered the Liberation Library, which provides books to kids in jail.

I've sent supplies to Standing Rock, donated to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in the U.S., and I'd like to put my resources to work in my home country as well. So: charities/projects addressing literacy/food security/representation/resisting fascism/protecting the environment. Point me at the good guys, please.
posted by lizifer to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I realize the title of this question refers specifically to First Nations people. I then expanded the question to include a number of other topics. I am not sure if it's editable, but I apologize for any confusion.
posted by lizifer at 6:51 PM on February 24, 2017

Women's shelters in Northern communities perform a vital and perpetually under-resourced function. I work in Alaska Native communities and don't know Canada-specific organizations, but I can tell you women's shelters will give you a great, local, and efficient target for your generosity. Just as a first possibility I located the YWCA Alison McAteer House, the only family violence shelter in Yellowknife. They take donations. I found some other women's shelters in other Northern communities as well.

Aariga! I'll look into it some more.
posted by spitbull at 7:33 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Feeding Nunavut
posted by modesty.blaise at 8:00 PM on February 24, 2017

Not firsthand knowledge as I'm an urban planning student who primarily studies U.S. cases, but Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has a very high percentage of First Nations residents, including people living on the streets or in precarious housing situations. I'll ask my colleague who is from Vancouver for suggestions, but some organizations to start you off
Aboriginal Health Services
Vancouver Native Health Society
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:38 PM on February 24, 2017

The YWCA also runs the Qimqaavik Women's Shelter in Nunavut, also the only shelter of its kind in Nunavut.
posted by spitbull at 6:01 AM on February 25, 2017

Many large cities will have at least one Indigenous Center or Shelter. Contact them directly and ask what their needs are. Our local Native Women's Shelter frequently asks for feminine products, warm winter clothes and monetary donations, for example. Also, volunteer time is particularly appreciated if it involves childcare so the mamas can have a little time to do whatever they need to do.

You can consider purchasing books, art and other materials (such as mitts) from Indigenous creators. Be sure the money goes to them or flows through an organization that directly supports them. Many Indigenous Friendship Centers have fairs or craft sales periodically.

Personally, I believe that all Non-Indigenous Canadians have a responsibility to learn about and talk about the many injustices that have faced and continue to face our Indigenous population. It can be done in any number of ways, listening to music by Indigenous musicians, reading books that tell Indigenous stories, spending time with Indigenous people if you don't already (Friendship centers often have time slots for all to join in on activities), and making a point of following Indigenous news. Become more informed and inform others.
posted by eisforcool at 8:23 AM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Caring Society is an extremely effective organization. They lead the campaign for Shannen's Dream and Jordan's principle, as well as the recent Human Rights Tribunal ruling ending discrimination in family services.
posted by mikek at 4:14 PM on February 25, 2017

This is a question I struggle with a lot too because there are so many different aspects of what could be donated towards that it's hard to figure out where to focus.

I donate to the local Indigenous Women's Shelter in my neighbourhood as well as the local Friendship Centre. I particularly think the first one is important because a lack of support networks is a contributor to MMIW. The Friendship Centre is important too because it can be a cultural hub within a settler city for Indigenous peoples to go to and they typically have many useful programs for their clients.
posted by urbanlenny at 4:26 PM on February 25, 2017

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