Let’s talk about life in the urban Indigenous nation

We’re launching an urban Indigenous newsletter and we want you to join us.

This is our first urban Indigenous newsletter, make sure to share it and subscribe here

As urban Indigenous people, we rarely see our lives, interests or unique challenges reflected in the media. This newsletter is dedicated to changing that. Every Wednesday I’m going to share what people love about being Indigenous in the city, recap Indigenous news of the week, highlight upcoming events, and spotlight people you should know about. This is the first one, so click here to let me know what you think, what you’d change, what you’d keep. 

To start, I’m asking as many Lower Mainland urban Indigenous people as possible the same 10 questions. Questions like: What do you love about the urban Indigenous community? What’s challenging? What do you wish a reporter would look into? If you’ve got thoughts click here — it’ll take about 10 minutes to submit your answers.

You can also join me in the new Facebook group we just launched as a gathering place for Lower Mainland urban Indigenous people to discuss what’s happening, ask questions, share stories and learn from each other.

What you love.

Bethany Sunday Shortt says the bond uniting the urban Indigenous community in the Lower Mainland is strong. 

Meet Bethany Sunday Shortt. The 16-year-old high school student spent the summer working with elders through the Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society (ALIVE), and is now about to launch her first magazine.

Having grown up in a small town where the majority of people were white and often unkind to her because she was different, Bethany loves how big and accepting the Indigenous community is here in the Lower Mainland.

“I love the openness that the urban Indigenous community has in Vancouver, how kind and how talkative they are — whenever I’m, like at a park or something, I always end up talking to someone. Or, just walking down the street, I always end up talking to someone.”  

She also appreciates not being the only Indigenous person on the block. “I love being able to walk down the street and feel comfortable,” she says.

People are talking about.

  • Trans Mountain’s approval was overturned this week. Listen to Angela Steritt’s roundtable on CBC Radio’s BC Today to hear how folks at the centre of the fight responded.
  • Will racism rear its head in the next federal election? Read Saskatoon Star Phoenix Indigenous columnist Doug Cuthand’s take on how the issue might play out in Saskatchewan.
  • Meet the Ainu, an Indigenous people of Japan whose traditional territory is on the island of Hokkaido, whose women have a unique tattoo tradition.

Culture connections.

Joshua Pawis-Steckley has been living in Vancouver for just about two years.

Joshua Pawis-Steckley lives more than 4,000 kilometres from his home in the Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario, but the 28-year-old artist still strongly identifies with his Ojibwe culture.

He hopes to “change people’s minds for the better” through his art, and finds inspiration in the growing influence of other Indigenous artists on social media.

“We’re all sort of… finding the strength within us to rejuvenate our culture and just feel, like, better about ourselves,” he says, “and inspire the youth and make big differences within Canada.”

Joshua wishes there were more opportunities in the Lower Mainland to learn about other Indigenous cultures here too, like Coast Salish drumming styles.

“I don’t think there’s enough workshops where you can learn more about the culture,” he says.

Let’s gather.



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