Le Frigo Vert puts together 100 ‘Anti-Colonial Care Packages’

The packages are set to be distributed to Indigenous students at Concordia and Indigineous organizations this week

LFV’s care packages include an Indigenous-made tea mug, Le Frigo Vert’s own tea blend, tea-strainer, all-purpose salve made by LFV, a card, candy, chocolate, and cigarettes.  Photo Courtesy of Le Frigo Vert.

Le Frigo Vert, an alternative health and community organization at Concordia, has put together 100 care packages to be distributed to Indigenous students and organizations. The packages are a part of LFV’s anti-colonial week, running from Monday Nov. 29 through to Dec. 2. 

The care packages with material goods will be available for Indigenous students at Concordia and will be distributed through collaboration with the Native Street Outreach Group and The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal. 

In addition to the care packages, LFV will serve free hot meals for anyone who self-identifies as Indigenous during their opening hours. Pay-what-you-can food baskets will also be available at the LFV space on Mackay St. 

LFV’s resident herbalist Hunter Cubitt Cooke, said that the organization held annual turkey dinners with Montreal’s Native Friendship Centre for several years prior to the pandemic. The dinners brought together Indigenous and non-indigenous students from Concordia, guest speakers and various community members. 

Due to the pandemic, LFV was unable to organize an in-person dinner at the Native Friendship Centre in 2020 and decided against a large gathering again this year. Instead, the idea to create care packages came to life. 

“It was really a good event at the Native Friendship Centre,” said Cubitt-Cooke. “ We’re trying to fill that void.” 

Cubitt-Cooke said that the care packages are also a response to residential schools dominating headlines this year. Whereas LFV had previously focused on educating the Concordia community about anti-colonialism, they shifted some of their energy this year to creating these packages. 

“A lot of people were getting re-traumatized with the reactions people were having,” they said. “It seemed like an extra-important year for showing care.” 

Each care package has a custom Indigenous-made tea mug featuring art by a different Indigenous artist and Le Frigo Vert’s own tea blend. The packages also include an organic tea-strainer, all-purpose salve made by LFV, a card, candy, chocolate, and cigarettes. 

According to a poster advertising the packages, they “were created with support of QPIRG Concordia and the Midnight Kitchen Collective and the People’s Potato.” Cubitt-Cooke added that these groups had all previously contributed to the annual dinner organized by LFV held at the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal. 

Lyn Black, project coordinator for the Indigenous Street Work Project, said the packages are a welcome addition to Indigenous housing projects currently underway. Some of the packages put together by LFV will be distributed through a community space near Mont-Royal metro run by the project. 

“These will be super nice for people who are experiencing homelessness right now, but as a housewarming gift too,” said Black. “Most of the people we work with are Inuit and far from home, having a lovely little gift can lift up people’s spirits quite a lot.” 

Beyond donations, Black said that Concordia students can help unhoused Indigenous people in Montreal through advocacy. They encouraged more participation in public processes and to “demand from our city officials adequate resources for Indigneous homeless people.” 

“Donations are very much needed and super appreciated and if that’s what you can do, do that,” said Black.“But, for sure, there can be a lot more done in terms of advocacy.” 

Self-identifying Indigneous students and Indigenous people are welcome to drop by Le Frigo Vert’s space at 1440 Mackay all week to pick up a care package and enjoy a free hot meal.