Dialogues for Promoting Indigenous Spirituality and Culture

Dr. Peter Centre Expands Culture of Care Program

The Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver, BC, known for its holistic care approach for individuals facing HIV and other vulnerabilities, is in need of renewed funding to support critical initiatives within the urban Indigenous community in Vancouver.

In response to the unique challenges Indigenous people face due to historical trauma and discrimination, the Centre launched the Culture of Care Program in 2022, aimed at creating a safe and supportive space for Indigenous participants. Initial support from the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF) played a crucial role in establishing this program.

Building on this foundation, the Centre is expanding the Culture of Care Program to include an enhanced art therapy program, improved safety measures for women experiencing gender-based violence, and opportunities for staff members to engage with Indigenous ways of knowing.

A key component of this expansion is the incorporation of Indigenous carving into the art therapy program. Renowned artist John Spence, known for his cultural roots and trauma-informed approach, leads this initiative. The totem pole project symbolizes the intersection of Indigenous artistry and therapeutic expression, serving as a representation of community resilience and the journey towards healing.

With a renewed grant from the IRF, the Centre will be able to sustain and grow these initiatives. The funding will cover salaries and benefits for Indigenous full-time staff members involved in the Culture of Care Program, as well as contractor fees for Indigenous-led counseling and the Indigenous carver. Additionally, it will support ceremonial expenses and honoraria for Elders involved in the program.

Through these efforts, the Culture of Care Program can provide holistic care for Indigenous people, address health disparities, integrate cultural and artistic activities into harm reduction services, and foster a healing environment rooted in understanding, compassion, and respect for the diverse needs of Indigenous communities.

Archdiocese of Vancouver