James Harry Sr. has consistently dedicated himself to building more resilient communities in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood and in Indigenous communities across British Columbia. James works with conviction to provide holistic and culturally relevant supports to Indigenous people struggling with addiction, mental health and homelessness. In 2017, James became the Haisla First Nation’s first urban outreach and peer support worker. In his role, James has implemented a trauma-informed approach centered around trust and respect for cultural considerations.
In 2020, when navigating two public health crises, COVID-19 and an increasingly toxic drug supply, James mobilized a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members to establish the All Nations Outreach Society (ANOS). ANOS continues to expand the scope and scale of culturally relevant supports available to people in the DTES. At the beginning of the pandemic, ANOS started its Feed the People program and quickly grew in size thanks to the support from other Nations and businesses. The volunteer-driven program now feeds over 300 people a week. James’ work sets an example and encourages Nations to come together, share their resources, and support each other in providing for their most vulnerable members.