A message from Ross Chilton, CLBC CEO:
Community Living BC is pleased to join our partners and government in recognizing Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) in November. The British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) created Indigenous Disability Awareness Month in 2015 to highlight and celebrate the unique contributions First Nations, Métis and Inuit people with disabilities make to communities throughout the province.
Strengthening relationships with Indigenous individuals, families and communities is a top priority for CLBC, and is reflected in one of the key goals of our current Strategic Plan: Our actions align with the rights of Indigenous peoples. The past year has seen significant milestones as we work towards this goal.
CLBC’s Cultural Safety Policy, launched last fall, guides CLBC staff and service providers in how they engage, support, monitor, and plan with First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals, as well as their families, support networks and communities. CLBC has created a video to raise awareness and understanding of the six principles that make up the Cultural Safety Policy. You can watch the video and learn more about the policy here.
In the spring, the Community Living Authority Act, which governs CLBC, was amended to formally include an Indigenous Advisory Committee, and to require CLBC’s Board of Directors continue to include at least one Indigenous person. As well, an official CLBC Board Statement committing to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples was signed at an historic and emotional ceremony.
A collaboration agreement signed in September between Secwépemc Child & Family Services Agency (SCFSA) and CLBC means that Indigenous adults with developmental disabilities in the Kamloops, or Secwépemc Nation area, can now receive support and community inclusion services directly from an established Indigenous service provider.
CLBC’s Indigenous Relations team continues its work to improve awareness of available supports and services among Indigenous peoples and communities and to increase CLBC staff knowledge of Indigenous history and culture.
Next year, to mark the 10th Indigenous Disability Awareness Month, BCANDS / Indigenous Disability Canada (IDC) will host the 2024 Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering in Victoria. The Gathering brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, leadership, service providers, community members and others to learn, connect, and collaborate in addressing the unique barriers Indigenous people with disabilities face. Learn more about The Gathering here.
We hope you will join us in recognizing this important month in communities across B.C.