Dear neighbours,

United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island acknowledges the homelands of the Indigenous Peoples of this place we now call British Columbia and honours the many territorial keepers of the Lands on which we work. I write to you from our head office in the City of Burnaby, where we recognize that we are on the ancestral and unceded homelands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speaking peoples. We are grateful to be on this territory.

The Government of Canada has declared September 30 a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and ReconciliationThis day is an important step in the reconciliation process. It provides an opportunity to acknowledge our country’s history of systemic racism, recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and honour their victims, survivors, families, and communities.

Across the country, Canadians will face the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in different ways. For those impacted by ongoing trauma related to residential schools, it’s a day to seek healing and community. For others on a personal learning journey towards reconciliation, it’s a day to continue learning and to seek stories and teachings from Indigenous voices.

United Way British Columbia and United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC) are committed to Indigenous reconciliation. Reconciliation is an opportunity for our organization and our network to honour Indigenous Peoples across this land by committing to acknowledge and work towards rectifying past wrongs. We have a responsibility as community-based organizations to increase our own understanding and help dismantle the legacy of colonialism.

United Ways serve and partner with Indigenous people in over 5,000 communities across the country, including here in B.C. We work with community experts to create more equitable access to supports and programs that enable opportunities for all people to reach their full potential.

On September 30 and every day, we seek to honour our Indigenous staff, partners, and volunteers here in British Columbia. We recognize the intergenerational trauma resulting from colonialism and the residential school system, and we hold space for you on your healing journey.

As we all consider personal journeys of reconciliation, there are many resources available to the public including Indigenous Residential School Survivors SocietyNational Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and Equal Futures Network. Please see below for more information and resources.

With reverence,
Michael McKnight
President and CEO, United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island

Resources and Information on Truth and Reconciliation in Kelowna:

National and Provincial Resources and Information on Truth and Reconciliation:

Resources for Children

Support services for residential school survivors in British Columbia:

  • The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a 24-hour, provincewide Indigenous crisis line for Indigenous peoples in B.C. Adults, call 250 723-4050. Children and youth, call 250 723-2040. Toll-free: 1 800 588-8717
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line for Indigenous people across Canada toll-free 1 855 242-3310 or chat online: https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/
  • The Métis Crisis Line for Métis people in B.C., available 24 hours a day at 1 833 MétisBC: 1 833 638-4722
  • Tsow Tun Le Lum for Indigenous peoples in B.C., phone: 1 888 403-3123
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society, phone: 1 800 721-0066 or 604 985-4464, https://www.irsss.ca/
  • 24-Hour National Crisis Line for residential school survivors and others affected: 1 866 925-4419