As the international community knows, a horrific wildfire destroyed Lytton this summer. Less well know is that adjacent First Nation reserves lost all their infrastructure to support Indigenous children with developmental conditions. The Nzen’man’ Child and Family Development Centre was completely destroyed. Over a hundred children lost their childcare centre. Programs including Aboriginal Supported Child Development, Aboriginal Infant Development, Early Years Outreach, Family Place and Pre and Post Natal Program are all without a facility.
While many families continue to be displaced, the community is committed to rebuilding. Nzen’man’ had already been working on plans for a beautiful new centre as of 2020, to serve multiple community needs. In honour of Canada’s first National Truth and Reconciliation, ACT would like to suggest sending a contribution to the project today via Canada Helps. [ACT has collaborated with the Nzen’men’ centre in an important research project in the past and is concerned at the systemic lack of support for indigenous children.] As Nzen’man Child and Family Development Centre Society is a federally registered charity, you will receive a tax receipt.
Here is how Romona Baxter, Executive Director of the Nzen’man’ Centre describes their vision for this ambitious project:
Prior to the fire, we had been dreaming of a new facility to house the wide array of our programs, including a therapy room for visiting professionals. So, moving forward, we welcome donations that we would use to support the actual building of the new Nzen’man’ Centre which will include desperately needed spaces for early learning and childcare. However, the new centre will offer more including a cultural space for generational gathering, and a much-needed community space that will encourage gathering of indigenous knowledge, to increase access and opportunity of cultural, recreational and community infrastructure.
This centre will support efforts to overcome our 80 years of experience with the St. George’s Residential School. We are conceiving of this space as a place of healing the generational effects that this dark shadow has cast on generations of Nlaka’pamux youth. It will be a beacon for the community to access youth, elder, family and community resources.
As an indigenous non-profit organization who has established relationships with each of our communities, including non-indigenous communities over a span of 20 plus years, we understand the importance of reconciliation both within and with the broader communities and Canada. An overwhelming number of our people share the impacts of loss of language, cultural knowledge, and parenting skills as a result of our shared experiences of the St. Georges Residential School. These impacts have reverberated through the generations and we continue to experience them today.
This project is reconciliation in action, working towards re-building our community foundations and removing the effects our shared history and experience with the Residential School. This includes continuing to work with the communities in our region to ensure that the facility reflects a common belief that the children are the centre of our communities and the heart of our Nations future.
Questions about the Nzen’man’ Child and Family Development Centre or how to donate? Email Romona Baxter at [email protected].
Bursary Program for the Indigenous Community
If you self-identify as an Indigenous person, or are a staff member of an Indigenous organization, please visit our bursaries page to apply for bursaries to ACT’s events.
Autism Videos @ ACT
ACT has two videos related to supporting Indigenous families: