Indigenous Health Services
On top of addressing health and wellness concerns, this program encourages healing through traditional, spiritual and cultural practices.
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is home to the largest population of First Nation people in Canada, and in 2010, PHS Community Services expanded to include the Aboriginal Services program in response to the disproportionate health disparities experienced by this group.
The primary goal of the Indigenous Services program is to round out an individual’s medicine wheel in an attempt to facilitate holistic well-being.
Program services aim to address the needs associated with cultural and spiritual care by reconnecting or helping people to connect for the first time to traditional, spiritual and cultural practices.
The program provides services to approximately 80 to 100 people a week through weekly talking circles which begin and end with singing, drumming and a smudge ceremony, monthly sweat lodge ceremonies, drum making, weekly drumming circles, and other community and on-Reserve events and gatherings. By working from a supportive cultural framework, programming offers spaces where service users can come together to discuss the experiences and consequences of colonization and systemic racism and begin to develop wellness plans.
The program director is well connected to community Elders as well as other community programs and organizations and the Indigenous Services program often acts as a bridging service, connecting community members to needed resources, or as an advocating body.