First Light to launch new urban Indigenous coalition

Senior representatives from Indigenous groups, community organizations, and government agencies will meet Wednesday in St. John’s to discuss the formation of a new urban Indigenous coalition. Organized by First Light, the event will take place in the Port Room of the Courtyard Marriott from 2-4pm. More than two dozen stakeholders, including City Councillors Maggie Burton and Ian Froude, are expected to participate.

One of 32 such coalitions supported nationally by Indigenous Services Canada, the proposed St. John’s Urban Indigenous Coalition will provide a permanent forum for organizations at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels to collaborate on a wide range of issues. “The ongoing existence of colonial structures means that Indigenous people living in urban settings face a unique set of challenges compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts,” said Stacey Howse, Director of Programs at First Light. “A more coordinated approach is needed if we’re going to make progress on issues such as higher rates of homelessness, disparities in employment and health outcomes, and everyday discrimination.”

According to Statistics Canada, the urban Indigenous population in St. John’s more than doubled between 2006 and 2016 – the fastest rate of growth in any census metropolitan area in Canada. The new coalition initiative follows the release last month of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), which made sweeping recommendations for policy changes in a number of areas including human rights, health and wellness, education and training, child welfare, justice, and others.

For more information, please contact:
Justin Campbell
Project Coordinator
St. John’s Urban Indigenous Coalition
97 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John’s, NL
[email protected]