The chief of a national organization that represents urban and off-reserve indigenous people will be in Whitehorse on Saturday.
Dwight Dorey was elected national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples in 2015. He is currently travelling across the country as part of the organization’s National Grassroots Engagement Tour.
He said the purpose of the tour is to get a better sense of the needs of First Nations people living in cities and off-reserve.
“There’s a huge lack of fair housing for indigenous peoples off-reserve,” he said. “There are family services that are required. There are health issues. There are people looking for a cultural connection.”
He said part of the reason he’s coming to the Yukon is that he suspects people in the territories may feel left out of the congress. The organization has affiliate groups across Canada that work on local issues. But it hasn’t had an affiliate in the Yukon since the final agreements were established.
Now, he said, he’s looking to see if there’s interest in starting up a new territorial affiliate.
“We’re trying to get those gaps in the organization… filled. Because we know there’s a lot of needs out there.”
The meeting will also be a chance for indigenous Yukoners to speak about the issues that matter to them.
“We encourage people to come out and at least just talk,” Dorey said. “I’m just open and anxious to hear what people have to say.”
Dorey said the reports from the national tour will be used to develop policies and programs that the congress can then suggest to the appropriate levels of government.
The meeting will take place at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre on Saturday, Jan. 16, from 2 to 5 p.m.