Cultural supports and reconciliation are a pillar of our work. Some of our recent experiences have included facilitating pipe ceremonies and smudges for Housing First partner landlords and their buildings, with a very positive response. So far, there have been eight buildings that have begun participating in this cleansing process.
Ken Armstrong, Homeward Trust’s Oskapewis/Indigenous Cultural & Educational Helper, facilitated the ceremony with an elder after receiving a request from a tenant and coordinating with the building’s landlord. “It’s not one and done,” mentions Ken. “Following the request, we talk with the landlord about the requested ceremony, its purpose, and importance of protocol. Each time you do it, the heaviness of the building gets lighter. So, it’s a good first step to open that door.”
Kyle Soroka, Property Manager at Canora Place, shared how the first ceremony benefited residents as well as himself. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for the Indigenous people in the building to do something that’s important for them. I didn’t really know too much about it (ceremony), and it was a good opportunity for me to learn, too.” Kyle also shared that bringing this ceremony to Canora Place has brought him and some of his tenants closer together.
“It’s a huge reconciliation piece with the landlords for us to come together and provide this for our community members,” adds Ken. “Most landlords are not Indigenous, and they serve a large Indigenous population. They want us to provide that cultural piece, not only for the health of the building, but for their tenants, too.”
If you are an interested landlord, please get in touch with your contact at Homeward Trust.