302 Columbia St. Vancouver, BC admin@dewc.ca 604-681-8480

Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous Peoples Day at DEWC

This year we are planning to honour National Indigenous People’s Day with a week long celebration of Indigenous culture at DEWC with workshops, film screenings, storytelling circles/workshops, and performances. On June 21st, we will be hosting a celebration at our Drop-in Centre and Shelter locations, including performances by Indigenous artists and women of the centre. 

Sponsorship Opportunities

We are grateful for any support that will help us make this day special for women at DEWC.

Click here to learn more about our custom sponsorship opportunities for Indigenous People’s Day.

To make a donation, please visit our online donation form and select “Indigenous Peoples Day” in the “Where would you like to give” section. Your contributions help support culturally appropriate activities and celebrations.

If you have any questions about donating to DEWC, or about the day’s events, please reach out to Ali by email or by phone at: 604-681-8480 x 350.

In-Kind Donations

In addition to monetary donations, we are looking for particular items to help support workshops and women’s participation. We are currently looking for donations of:

  • Sinew
  • Leather (strips and squares)
  • Glue (Gorilla glue)
  • Beads, feathers
  • Medicine (cedar, sage, tobacco)

Please drop donations off to the attention of Cassandra, Indigenous Women’s Projects Coordinator, at: 302 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 4J1 between the hours of 10AM-12PM and 2PM-4PM Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Planned Activities & Workshops

Medicine Bag Making Workshop with Elder Rita Blind | Passing on sacred wisdom and Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Medicine bags are traditional and used by Indigenous People s to hold sacred spiritual objects. Traditionally, medicine pouches would carry herbs and medicine (sage, tobacco, cedar, sweet grass to smudge and give back to Mother Earth) and the carrier would use to connect with the spiritual world. The bag could also include personal possessions such as belongings of family members or special mementos.

Storytelling Circle & Workshop (facilitator TBA)

Indigenous storytelling is a way to instill knowledge of the mind, body, and soul in connection to the earth through knowledge keepers.This storytelling circle is meant to  offer a safe space to share sacred knowledge and learn about other nations history. The life lessons brought about in Indigenous storytelling are essential for Indigenous peoples to keep their history alive and to teach about values, significant events, relationships, cultural beliefs, and sacred stories.

National Indigenous People’s Day (June 21)

We will be hosting a patio celebration with live performances from Indigenous artists and women of the centre. We will be distributing gifts and bannock as well as serving a traditional Indigenous meals throughout our lunch service.

Help us make this day a success! Visit https://dewc.ca/donate to contribute to these celebrations.

Drum Group performances on patio (June 15 & 18)
Mural Project with artist Suna Galay
Film Screening (film details TBA)

Help us make this day a success! Visit our donation page to contribute to these celebrations.


Recap: 2020 Mural Project 

Last year’s window mural, created in honour of Indigenous Peoples Day, was created by artist Suna Galay, with assistance from artists Lydia Brown, Qristine Hrvatin, and women of the Centre.

Artist Biography: Suna Galay

Sunkosi Maya Maria / Suna is a visual and performing artist of mixed Indigenous and European descent (Denésuline-Métis, Tamang-Nepalese, Ukrainian and German) born on the unceded ancestral territories of the S?wx?wú7mesh, S?l?ílw?ta?, and x?m??k??y??m Nations of
Turtle Island.

After studying painting and sculpture at Emily Carr University, she began exploring the performing arts worlds of clown and grotowski with teacher David MacMurray Smith.

Her arts practice began with an examination of cultural identity, expanding into an exploration of the human spirit’s inherent fluidity, and continuing its evolution into an embodied decolonization of her own body and mind.

Through the performing arts Suna found her North Stars to be within the body as pedagogy, and art as ceremony. Her intention is to engage with sovereignty through reclamation; to be together in remembering our languages, the raw power in the movement of our emotions, and our unbroken ancestral ties to the mystery.

She continues to engage with the transformative nature of life and death through hide tanning, currently working with the bodies and spirits of deer and buffalo.

Freedom + Protection: Mural Description (2020 mural project)

Words and description written by Suna Galay

“The Freedom + Protection mural painted for International Indigenous Peoples Day at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre was inspired by the strength and protection through which every woman is born: the blessings of 7 generations of Grandmothers who came before

When a woman is pregnant with a daughter, the growing fetus inside her is already carrying the egg which will later become her granddaughter. It is in the body of our Grandmothers that we begin taking shape. The women stand on a turtle’s back, which is our original Mother Earth.

The gift and wisdom of womanhood comes through Grandmother Moon, as it is through our monthly moontime that we are able to bring forth life into this world.

While I designed most of the mural beforehand, it became a collaboration with the community. Two Indigenous aunties walking by suggested we add an eagle flying above the Grandmothers, and Lydia Brown, a Snuneymuxw First Nation artist painting alongside me, envisioned it
crystal clear and laid it so beautifully into the sky. Now that the image is complete, we cannot imagine it without the Eagle soaring above, carrying the Freedom spirit for the women.”