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VCN help|desk Supports Community Members: Success Story

eagle little
Through Homeless Advocate Judy Graves, for the past several months *Eagle Little Boy has been consistently dropping by the second floor of the Woodward’s building to access VCN’s computer terminals and community support.

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Eagle Little Boy relocated to Vancouver in 1992 with the help of his cousin. As with many youth in the government care system, Eagle Little Boy experienced trauma, hardships, and obstacles during his childhood that led to a dark past involving “gang-life”, substance abuse, and crime.

By the time Eagle Little Boy reached 16 years of age, he had been in and out of 45 replacements and was aging out of the foster care system, pushing him out to make room for others. He recounts, “They didn’t want nothing to do with me no more”. His psychiatrist at the time said, “Congratulations, you’re free. I hope you’re happy.”

Feeling abandoned, Little Eagle Boy was suddenly without a support system. “No one was there to grab my hand and tell me everything is going to be okay… that really fucked me up. No one to guide me what-so-ever.”

At 16 was when his “life on the black road” began. At a time of desperation, he turned to a path of crime to provide sustenance. “That’s when I broke into people’s homes. I had to. I had to eat, needed clothes on my back, how else could I do that? I had to.”

“For 29 years, I chased away death numerous times. For 29 years I had neglected my whole entire family. I didn’t bother contacting them or phoning or asking them for help what-so-ever. I’ve been in and out of jails in Alberta. I came to B.C. and I’ve been in and out of jails.”

Now at 45 years old, Little Eagle Boy has been clean and sober for 163 days and counting, “right in the middle of the devil’s playground” stating, “I don’t have the urge to do that no more.”

With the help of community supports like VCN, Eagle Little Boy has left all that behind him. In this safe space, Eagle Little Boy receives the help he needs to maintain and (re)build relationships with family and friends. VCN staff and volunteers offer Eagle Little Boy technical as well as emotional support to help him thrive day-to-day. Eagle Little Boy has expressed that access to VCN’s services and computers have been influential to his recovery.

He has also attributed his successful recovery to sweats, where he was given his spirit name. The gatherings have provided him with emotional support and opportunities for self-reflection. Sweat lodges have been a tradition for First Nations throughout North America. The sweat lodge ceremony cleans and heals the body. It heals the mind – bringing clarity – and it us often a testing place, offering a rite of passage where a participant can demonstrate endurance, strength, and courage. They are also holy places where Aboriginal people can renew their deep connection to the universe and to the spirit realm.

Cultivating positive lessons from spiritual teachings and healing circles, Little Eagle Boy says, “Circle represents power in numbers… everyone is equal. No one is better than the other. We can cry, laugh with no judgment, discrimination, it’s a safe space. There is power in those groups.”

“[I] learned out how to survive on the streets but one thing I know is the love and compassion towards/between people in the streets. They were willing to share whatever they had – whether it was drugs alcohol, pipe spoon whatever, pillow anything, food, makeup or last pair of socks or last fifty cents. They were like a family away from your own family. People live people die, the streets taught me how to survive and that’s why I’m alive today.”

*Alternate Name Used