Sweetgrass Clan x EVSC

The East Van Skate Crows are privileged to be skating on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples – the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We thank the incredible Indigenous peoples past and present for protecting, defending, and caring for the land of Turtle Island.

We would like to extend the most enormous thank you to the Sweetgrass Clan for helping inspire and get us together for an amazing evening of connections, food, skating and stories. Last month after our Naloxone Skate Camp, Robert Epp (black eagle man) of Sweetgrass Clan reached out to EVSC and proposed having an evening where we connect over similar goals of protecting our vulnerable park community.

We chose Strathcona Park as our location, as earlier this year around 200 people called this park home before they were forcibly evicted by the City of Vancouver. When the East Van Skate Crows come to a skate park, we acknowledge that we are in someone’s space. Parks are homes for many people, parks are community points for the neighbourhood, and as visitors in these spaces, we feel very strongly about being respectful to those around us. The Sweetgrass Clan set up a delicious skate park bbq and the roller skaters invited everyone at the park to grab a plate. Everyone ate, skated, and it was a lovely evening.

The Sweetgrass Clan is doing amazing working in the DTES by “[h]elping the less fortunate by providing essential supplies…with Dignity and Respect”, and it is inspiring to see all the ways we can help our communities. After the skate event, Robert and the rest of the Sweetgrass Clan headed to Oppenheimer Park and fed over 150 more people.

You can check out their website and get involved by donating and volunteering: http://www.sweetgrassclan.org.

“The Sweetgrass Clan acknowledges that indigenous people once had their territory, language, culture-vibrant and cohesive social, economic, and political systems held together by a spiritual worldview and a sacred response to Mother Earth and creation.

Sweetgrass’s focus is the ongoing and increasing need to provide safety and security to our Downtown Eastside community.

Harmony is achievable by distributing essential resources to the people who need them most; we provide hygiene products, clothing, and children’s supplies. We also offer connections to housing, mental health counselling, and re-connections to families in a non-violent and supportive way.

We are a visible presence on the streets of Vancouver and provide an early response to conflicts by providing conflict resolution, mobile witnessing, and maintaining citizen safety in these situations.

Most importantly, the Sweetgrass Clan recognizes that these values, traditions, and institutions remain viable today for the future of our youth.”

You can also check out https://thetyee.ca/News/2020/11/17/Sweet-Grass-Patrol/ for more information on the Sweetgrass Clan.

We would also like to thank @bearblackhorsephotography for taking so many wonderful photos and for sharing his stories with us.

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