WHAT IS THE GATHERING PLACE?
The Gathering Place is a vision for a physical space that will welcome all people of all nations to be honoured in an Aboriginal environment that is united in pride, strength, and a sense of belonging.
WHO WILL THE GATHERING PLACE SERVE?
It is planned as a central, easily accessible hub of spaces and services that meet the unique needs of urban Aboriginals in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and the surrounding area. Community members will be able to gather to experience and celebrate Aboriginal culture, and enhance community connection through opportunities for learning and holistic growth.
“Getting people together gives a sense of belonging, there is such a high population here but they are very disconnected, with the blend of cultures, many mixed families. They need a sense of belong, especially off reserve.”
- 2009 consultation participant
WHAT WILL THE GATHERING PLACE INCLUDE?
The consultations yielded an outpouring of ideas, from which several key themes emerged:
Wellness Spaces with culturally relevant healthcare, early childhood and parent support, mental health services, traditional medicine, and addiction recovery.
Cultural Spaces to bring together groups big and small for ceremonial events and cultural celebrations, as well as a museum, library, archives, artist spaces and more.
Housing & Shelter including affordable housing for youth, families and elders, transitional and supportive housing, shelter space and homeless outreach.
Recreation and Community Spaces including an elders centre, childcare, gym and youth drop-in centre.
Program Spaces for childcare, homeless outreach and more.
Outdoor Spaces to connect to the land and provide food/medicine gardens, ceremonial spaces, sweat lodge and more.
Our vision is the result of years of consultation with a wide range of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organizations, as well as the general public through the annual Aboriginal Day celebrations
2004 Aboriginal service providers create working
2009 Consultation determines need for a distinct
Society, and work to establish it begins
2010 Start of annual Aboriginal Day celebrations
2011 FRANAS is formed to steer the Gathering Place
2016 Program and capacity building
2017 Second round of consultations helps refine
WHY IS THE GATHERING PLACE NEEDED?
Our communities are changing, but census data show us the urban Aboriginal community is growing much more quickly than others and faces a unique set of issues and challenges.
Across Canada, off-reserve Aboriginal people are the fastest-growing segment of Canadian society, a trend that is mirrored within Metro Vancouver. A significant portion is under the age of 24.
The urban Aboriginal community make-up features more women than men, many of whom are single parents. There is more than double the number of urban Aboriginal children in low-income families than in the non-Aboriginal population.
WHAT’S NEEDED TO MAKE THE GATHERING PLACE HAPPEN?
Click here to find out what's needed to make the Gathering Place a reality.