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Special Sticker Series: This Really is Harm Reduction


Tansi Ninôtemik,


In support of tawâw Outreach Collective, this week's blog posts have all highlighted stickers by Blog Author Olive Bensler (in collaboration with tâwaw) to highlight leaders in Indigenous harm reduction and human rights work in Edmonton. 100% of sticker sale proceeds will go to tâwaw and can be purchased here.


Artwork by Olive Bensler with input from community members and consent from all individuals (Bensler has donated all designs, so all property rights to the artwork and designs belong to tawâw).


What do stickers have to do with harm reduction?


Some of the most powerful acts of harm reduction can be found in seemingly unrelated acts:





and in kokums, aunties, and uncles fighting for current, past, and present generations.


These are not acts of harm reduction simply because they are carried about by individuals advocating for people with addictions. Rather, they reflect an intersectional approach to community health - which underlies successful harm reduction work - founded in connection with the land, self-determination of one's identity, love, support, and strong community leadership.


tawâw defines their approach to harm reduction, stating: "More than just handing out harm reduction supplies, our volunteers focus on building connections and fostering a sense of community. We believe every person has a story worth hearing, and we strive to honour the gift of storytelling that is important amongst Indigenous cultures."[1] They further accomplish this through commitments to decolonization, Indigenous leadership, grassroots organizing, mutual aid, cultural and trauma-informed training, and persistently challenging systems of oppression.


tawâw exemplifies Indigenous Harm Reduction practices, which acknowledge the intersectional nature of addiction and the important role of relationships (wahkowtowin), learning, culture, and identity in healing. If you would like to support their exceptional work, please consider purchasing these stickers (and other products) here or look for other ways to get involved here.

Until next time,


The ReconciliACTION YEG team


[1] tawâw outreach collective, online <https://tawawoutreachcollective.ca/>.

[2] First Nations Health Authority, "Indigenous Harm Reduction Principles and Practices," online <https://www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/mental-wellness-and-substance-use/harm-reduction-and-the-toxic-drug-crisis/indigenous-harm-reduction>.


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