Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is extremely grateful to be a recipient of a 2020 Community Action Grant from MLSE Foundation. Launched in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has a vision of changing lives through the spirit and power of sport. Through their generous support, NCFST will be providing Aboriginal youth aged 16-29 with barrier-free access to a culturally-safe physical literacy program that combines sports, peer engagement, mental health workshops, elder supports and cultural teachings.
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is pleased to release our 2019-2020 Annual Report. We would like to express our deep gratitude to our partners, funders, and community members for supporting us through another year of transition, growth, and development. Thanks to their valuable participation, we have continued to increase our resources available for Holistic Services. This increased funding in Holistic Services has enabled us to launch Ontario’s first urban healing lodge for Aboriginal women and their children, to open a new Healing and Prevention Centre, and to complete the design and begin construction of two new multi-service Aboriginal Child and Family Centres.
June is National Indigenous History Month. This is a time to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In addition, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is a time for gatherings and celebration. As we all know, this year things will be different across Canada which will involve celebrating in our own unique way. Large gatherings may not be possible, but celebration of our culture can and must continue in ways that are close to our heart and loved ones. It is important that we celebrate this day because Canadian history has not always celebrated and respected Indigenous peoples, our culture and our ceremonial practices, as well as who we are as Indigenous people. The efforts of reconciliation look promising, but we are still in the early days.
Reconciliation was top of mind when Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer, our Executive Director, had the privilege of interviewing Mayor John Tory via Zoom, where they discussed reconciliation and Indigenous innovation in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery in the City of Toronto. We were privileged to learn more about Mayor Tory’s personal journey of reconciliation, commitment to Indigenous self-determination and sustainability of Indigenous innovation. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is deeply grateful to Mayor Tory for taking the time to speak with us.
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto has partnered with the City of Toronto and other community organizations to develop a Mental Health Support Strategy (MHSS) that responds to the needs of diverse Toronto residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is a deep history of collaboration and support between Black and Indigenous communities and movements. Some of this is due to a complex and interrelated shared history. The Nations of Canada, the United States and Mexico were born out of processes of colonization and slavery that seeded systemic racism that remains deeply rooted today. We have all been living in a pandemic of racism for centuries, and the cost has been millions of Black lives. Events over recent weeks have resulted in massive protests in every American state, and in dozens of other countries across the world. Black communities and their allies have had enough of state sponsored racism, structural violence and police brutality. Black Lives Matter. While much of the focus has been on the United States, we must also recognize the historical depth and contemporary impacts of anti-Black racism in Canada. Toronto, in particular, has a long and complex history that has seen members of the Black community disproportionately impacted by police violence. There are no words to describe the sadness we feel as this trend continues today.
At Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) we acknowledge that this is an unimaginably challenging time for Black members of the community. Many of our staff, partners, and the community members we serve are Black. We are unequivocal in our assertion that Black Lives Matter. We also recognize that statements of this sort are meaningless without corresponding action. We are committed to providing an inclusive environment at NCFST, where there is zero tolerance to racism and discrimination. We are also committed to engaging further with Black communities and organizations in the City of Toronto to better understand our role as an ally in opposition to structural violence, police brutality and anti-Black racism in our City.
NCFST stands in solidarity with Black members of our staff, partners and community.