James Harry Sr.

Burnaby, British Columbia

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.


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It was a great honour receiving the award. My hope is that it brings light to what we’re trying to accomplish here in the Downtown Eastside. To recognize someone who is trying to make a difference - it’s good feelings all around, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same or more. Thank you to the selection committee, to all who worked hard to make this happen, it was an exciting time for myself, my family and my two communities.