Indigenous Friends Association
Address: 4700 Keele Street, 5th Floor Kaneff Tower, North York, Ontario M3 J1P3 Canada
Founded in 2015, Indigenous Friends Association (IFA) is an Indigenous-led tech not-for-profit organization that grew from the need for Indigenous youth in an urban and post-secondary setting to access safer digital spaces and connect them to fellow peers. The IFA directly responds to the Calls to Action No. 7 (i.e., reduce employment and educational gaps) and 66 (i.e., Youth Program) of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because, through a community-based initiative, our organization supports the elimination of the education and employment gaps of Indigenous peoples.
Furthermore, our work at the IFA is guided and reinforced by the pressing need to address the dark legacy of colonial policies upon Indigenous Peoples, such as the Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the current child welfare system. Thus, the IFA aims to provide Indigenous Peoples and allies with the necessary tools to build partnerships and promote digital projects that place Indigenous understandings at their core.
Vision:Ignite the Spirit of Indigenous communities to engage and reclaim digital technology.
Mission:Inspire and support the imagination of Indigenous communities to create and maintain their digital technology to further their autonomy.
Programs:The IFA has three main programs:
- Indigital Program: It is a wellness, tech education and mentorship program through Indigenous worldviews for/by racialized individuals. Participants develop digital, employable and life skills through reconnecting with their community values and culture.
- IndigiMobile Program: It is a software development initiative to imagine, create and deploy digital applications that integrate Indigenous traditional knowledge and values into their design, where privacy and community expressions are central to it. Some of the successful projects of this program are IndigiFriends and IndigiHealth apps that are available in Google Play and Apple Store.
- IndigiQuery Program: It is a research program that is inquiring about the barriers of Indigenous youth to enter the labour market and transitioning to sustainable career pathways in tech and innovation while being able to deepen their cultural connections and identities.