Changing Tides

Changing Tides

An Action Plan to Dismantle White Supremacy, Settler Supremacy, and Anti-Indigenous Racism at West Coast LEAF 2022-2025

West Coast LEAF owes immense gratitude to the Indigenous Advisory (IA) Circle that has guided the development of this plan. We recognize and will strive to uphold our relational accountability to you and our broader relational community by implementing this plan with humility and respect.

West Coast LEAF was founded in 1985 as a settler-led and settler-supported legal non-profit and charitable organization. Our mandate is to use colonial legal strategies to achieve gender equality and justice in what is colonially known as British Columbia.

We acknowledge that West Coast LEAF is built on and has benefited from many systems of oppression, including white supremacy, settler supremacy, anti-Indigenous racism, and colonial laws and governance that facilitate genocide.

We aim to bring humility and honour to our reflections on the space we occupy as a legal organization. We recognize that our work towards equality and justice uses colonial laws, takes place on Indigenous lands we are occupying, and draws on resources stolen from Indigenous Peoples. Because of this complexity, we recognize that we have a deep and ongoing responsibility to dismantle oppressive structures and systems that persist in our organization and our work.

West Coast LEAF’s office is located on traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish homelands, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Our staff and board members live on Indigenous lands across the province and our work takes place on Indigenous lands across Turtle Island. We take responsibility for learning, unlearning, and seeking long-term transformation in our relationships with Indigenous Peoples and their lands.

In working towards long-term transformation, we are committed to seeking strategies to actively decolonize our work. As a legal organization, we have a particular responsibility to champion the return of Indigenous self-determination and liberation. 

This plan has been developed with guidance from West Coast LEAF’s Indigenous Advisory Circle. We are immensely grateful for their knowledge, support, and trust. We recognize and strive to uphold our relational accountability to the Indigenous Advisory Circle and our broader community by implementing this plan with intentionality, humility, and respect.

This action plan is a living document that will evolve and adapt over time as we strengthen our decolonization practices and deepen our relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

Transformation goal and relevant UNDRIP, TRC and/or Calls for Justice

  • As predominantly settler-led organization, on the unceded homelands of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh Nations,’ develop organizational process to identify and implement local knowledge and protocols to adhere to as appropriate and with consent to transform our relationship with the people of land that we predominantly work on to address ongoing settler and white supremacy within our work.
    • UNDRIP: Article 4, Article 5, Article 22.1
    • TRC: 43
    • C4J: 10.1 i., 15.2, 15.8
  • Continue to implement and develop ongoing learning on reconciliation, decolonization, white supremacy, settler supremacy, genocide and anti-Indigenous racism to deepen organizational capacity for transformation for staff, board and volunteers and within West Coast LEAF.
    • UNDRIP: Article 2, Article 15.1 and 15.2, Article 22.1 and 22.2
    • TRC: 27, 57
    • C4J: 10.1 i, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5
  • Develop and implement accountability processes and protocols that guide our commitments to reconciliation, decolonization and anti-Indigenous racism that is visible and accessible to all who engage or may wish to engage with our organization.
    • C4J: 10.1 ii, 15.3, 15.4, 15.7
  • Commit to allocating money and resources in each annual budget to ensure that we can appropriately compensate and support the Host Nations and urban Indigenous community to centre solidarity in our organizational practices.
    • UNDRIP: Article 5, Article 21.2
    • C4J: 15.7


  • Strengthen WCL’s approaches to addressing anti-Indigenous racism and centring decolonial practices, cultural safety and humility in our projects and strategies for Indigenous people and communities to be able to participate as fully as they choose. 
    • UNDRIP: Article 3, Article 4, Article 15.2, Article 21.2, Article 22.1, Article 22.2
    • TRC: 27
    • C4J: 10.1 i, 10.1 ii, 15.1, 15.2, 15.4, 15.5, 15.6, 15.7
  • Align our projects and strategies with advancing the TRC, Calls for Justice and UNDRIP for systemic change. 
    • UNDRIP: Article 1, Article 40
    • TRC: 43, 44
    • C4J: 5.3, 5.13, 15.1, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, 15.6, 15.8
  • Develop and deepen relationships with Indigenous community organizations, individuals and Nations particularly organizations focused on addressing gender-based discrimination to be in ongoing dialogue and mutual learning. 
    • UNDRIP: Article 9, Article 21.2, Article 22.1, Article 22.2
    • TRC: 50, 57
    • C4J: 5.3, 5.13, 10.1 ii, 15.3, 15.4, 15.6, 15.7
  • Prioritize Indigenous people within West Coast LEAF leadership positions including: staff positions, board roles, and other leadership roles as they arise, to center Indigenous voices and increase representation. We recognize the importance of creating spaces and processes that do not tokenize and recognize the increased demands on Indigenous people in social justice work. 
    • UNDRIP: Article 4, Article 15.2, Article 17.3
    • C4J: 5.3, 5.13, 10.1 ii, 15.6, 15.7
  • Develop an orientation pathway into the organization that brings people in our reconciliation, decolonization white supremacy, settler supremacy, genocide and anti-Indigenous racism work and begin participating in. 
    • UNDRIP: Article 2, Article 9, Article 15.1, Article 15.2, Article 22.2
    • TRC: 27, 57, 
    • C4J: 10.1 i, 101.1 ii, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4

Implementation plan

  • West Coast LEAF board reviewed for endorsement and board commitment resolution
    • April 2022 
  • West Coast LEAF pods (Education, Legal, Admin, Communications, Fundraising) and board reviewed the goals and emergent strategies to develop annual work plans to move forward the work for West Coast LEAF fiscal year April 2022-March 2024 that considers needed resources to implement into their work (time, funds, people) and relationships beyond the pods
    • June 2022
  • Plan published publicly on the WCL website
    • June 2023
  • WCL pods and board will add plan to their monthly meeting and reporting to/with the ED
    • Ongoing
  • Each quarterly advisory meeting will be a space to report and discuss successes and challenges with implementing the plan to seek guidance as needed with each pod sharing with the advisory
    • Ongoing 
  • The spring quarterly meeting will bring together board, staff and advisory to share, celebrate and discuss one another how the implementation and work is moving forward
    • Spring 2023
    • Spring 2024
  • Winter Advisory meeting will be used to update the plan publicly to reflect actions taken and revisions to plan
    • Winter 2023
    • Winter 2024

Plan glossary

We use the term transformation goal to focus on the need for deeper change that will change our organization and our relationships with the people and the land. We also acknowledge that this is about beginning the journey to dig deep and evolve and the goals will not bring us to the end of this transformation.

Drawing on the powerful work of adrienne maree brown, the action plan uses the language and knowledge of emergent strategy to guide our actions to move towards our transformation goals. brown defines emergent strategy as “as the way we make moves towards justice and liberation in right relationship with each other and the planet, in right relationship with change, and learning from the great teacher of nature,” (Resist, 2017). The core principles of emergent strategy include:

    • Small is good, small is all (The large is a reflection of the small)

    • Change is constant (Be like water)

    • There is always enough time for the right work. There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.

    • Never a failure, always a lesson

    • Trust the People (If you trust the people, they become trustworthy)

    • Move at the speed of trust

    • Focus on critical connections more than critical mass—build the resilience by building the relationships

    • Less prep, more presence

    • What you pay attention to grows (brown, 2017)

Some of the emergent strategies above will be taken up, some will be put down and new ones will emerge as we reflect and grow along the way.

We use the term impact to hold the space to understand how our actions are experienced and what shifts emerge. This can include outcomes such as money spent in community, numbers of people involved, resources developed, but it can also include things such as stories of changing relationships, new ways of approaching the work, important and difficult conversations held and so forth.

We use the term strategies and projects to mean our work that intersects with community. This includes things such as funded projects, but also how we engage members and donors, host events and so on.