Cultivating Relationships with the Land and Each Other

  15 June 2022

Via CHF Canada

Twin Rainbows Housing Co-operative in Vancouver, on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil Whaututh First Nations, received a CHF Canada Regional Diversity Grant to hold two workshops on land and cultural dispossession, reconciliation and creating awareness around colonial structures. The workshops aimed to help co-op members build better relations with the land and the host nations.

The first workshop focused on cultural teachings and storytelling.

The second workshop involved a community walk to identify and recognize the importance of conserving biodiversity. Participants reflected on the interconnections of human and non-human species, with a focus on fungal mycelium networks.

Twin Rainbows also created new garden spaces in some common areas of the co-op to cultivate deeper knowledge of the relationships with the land.

T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss, a Skwxwu7mesh Elder, artist and ethnobotanist, and Métis artist Vivian Bassette led these sessions with the co-op.

Another BC recipient of a Regional Diversity Grant in 2021 was a group of six housing co-ops in Vancouver’s South False Creek who held a roundtable discussion on concerns relating to barriers to equity, inclusion and belonging.

The session addressed reviewing membership policies and recruitment practices to remove barriers and increase diversity. To better include the voices of all generations, the group discussed how to build stronger intergenerational knowledge exchange and experience, such as fostering aging in place by including aging members who have helped build the community.

The session also explored ways to seek authentic connections with Indigenous people and to better serve Indigenous members by learning about the history of the land as well as Indigenous knowledge and practices. Karen Goodfellow, a First Nations facilitator of Squamish, Stolo and Austrian ancestry, led the session.

“The grant has given us the opportunity to bring our neighborhood co-ops together on pressing issues. It looks like we’ve got some momentum and may continue working on this project.”

– Damla Tamer, Twin Rainbows Housing Co-op