Circle of Eagles Lodge Society (COELS) envisions Indigenous Brothers and Sisters leading healthy, balanced lives as empowered individuals, within their families, communities, cultures and traditions.
COELS supports Indigenous Brothers and Sisters leaving federal institutions and those dislocated from society, to reintegrate into Community by providing respectful wholistic services and culturally safe spaces.
Programs and Services
Programs and services of COELS are developed through strategic conversations with knowledgeable stakeholders. They include former and current Brothers and Sisters of COELS, community organization partners, Vancouver Coastal Health frontline workers, Elders, community members, Corrections Services Canada, Parole Officers and COELS Board of Directors, Management and Staff. The goal is to bridge the gaps of existing good community programs and services with COELS in house programs.
Background of Circle of Eagles Lodge Society
In the late 60’s Marge White began to visit the BC Penitentiary Native Brotherhood. The Brothers inside the prisons expressed the need to establish an Indigenous home for themselves once they left prison. After writing and agreeing on a Constitution and Bylaws, the Allied Indian and Metis Society (AIMS) was established and formally incorporated on May 29, 1970.
AIMS applied for and received a grant to purchase a home. Cultural programs and services such as the Sweat Lodge and other services for Indigenous people who are leaving federal corrections continue at this location today. AIMS also purchased the adjoining property as a second stage housing support; unfortunately, the property was sold when AIMS was unable to continue to operate due to inadequate funding.
AIMS formerly changed its name to the Circle of Eagles Lodge Society (COELS) in 1995 at its 25th year anniversary.
COELS is an Indigenous organization overseen by an Indigenous Board and operated primarily by Indigenous People.
In 2000, COELS began to expand its programs and services. The building of a traditional sea-going canoe and subsequent canoe journeys contributed to the healing of those who became involved.
COELS began to offer programs to Indigenous Sisters leaving corrections in 2003 and entered a contract with Corrections Services Canada. The Anderson Lodge Healing Centre for Women provides a halfway house and a homeless shelter.
COELS also expanded services to include an Elders Meals on Wheels, Bannock on the Run providing meals to Elders and homeless persons. Meals are continued to be prepared by the Sisters, as a positive way of giving back to the community.
The Pre-employment program, Housing and Supports Program, Outreach program, Circle of Healing, Peer support, COELS Trading Post, Elders, Tsetsusem Canoe Healing Journey, COELS Graphic Design are just some of the programs and services that COELS continues to provide to this day.