The DUDES Club was established in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside in 2010 and since then clubs have been set up in communities across British Columbia (see SITES). The DUDES Club is a proven model for Indigenous men’s wellness promotion that builds solidarity and brotherhood, enabling men to regain a sense of pride and purpose in their life. A three-year evaluation study found that participants derive increasing benefits across the measured dimensions of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, and find DUDES a safe environment to connect and share. Indigenous men derive particular benefits from being a part of DUDES, including increased trust in people, social/peer support, and connection to heritage and culture. Within DUDES Clubs the hierarchy of the western medical model is flattened, and the healthcare providers who are involved prioritize cultural competence and safety, genuine connections, and support to help men navigate the healthcare system. Men who often carry with them intergenerational trauma related to the loss of or damage to their land, culture, family, language, and identity, are able to begin to drop some of their armour. The program is community-driven and highlights the importance of peer champions.
The objectives of the DUDES Club is based on the three-pillars:
To build solidarity, brotherhood, trust, and positive role models together with men.
To promote holistic, cost-effective men’s health through accessible dialogue, education, and health screening opportunities.
To enable men to regain a sense of pride, purpose, and fulfillment in their life.
These support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect what is important to DUDES Club. They are the essence of the DUDES Club's identity and help with decision-making processes.
Relationships: We prioritize work together that begins with, and builds towards, strong relationships, with: Self, Peers, Family, Community, Elders, and the Land.
Sanctuary: Our work depends on trust, and happens within a context of non-judgmental, inclusive, compassionate, respectful, culturally safe spaces.
Brotherhood: We recognize that reclaiming, redefining, and decolonizing ideas of what it is to be a ‘man’ is essential, and that this is a process that men must undertake to support each other. Healthy, authentic, humble, courageous masculinities are core to our work.
Journey: We recognize that to be effective and sustainable in the long term, this must be patient, and sometimes slow, work. The concept of ‘Seven Generations’ also reminds us to think beyond immediate needs, and that healing is a process that happens over time, not a quick fix.
Two-eyed seeing: We recognize that to move forward in a good way towards men’s wellness we must balance the strengths of both Indigenous and western ways of knowing. We must ensure our clubs are places of Cultural Safety, where Dudes can reconnect to their heritage and family, through storytelling and sharing.
To facilitate a participant-led community for men's wellness with activity-based clubs that prioritize supportive relationships, engagement in healthcare, and local Indigenous worldviews.
The DUDES Club’s Vision is of a renewed role for men* supporting each other and their families in building wellness and strong communities. The DUDES Club’s Vision is of a renewed role for men working with each other in building wellness and strong families and communities.
DUDES Clubs are open to all individuals who self-identify as men. DUDES Club works within communities with significant Indigenous populations, and can grow to where local leadership capacity, motivation, and resources exist to support a DUDES Club. DUDES works in the aftermath of several centuries of violent colonialism, and as such many of the men participating in DUDES Clubs experience social, political, and economic marginalization.
The DUDES Club works within a context of historical colonialism and the resulting displacement from traditional land and destruction of culture, language, and healthy roles for men in society; leading to structural inequities related to poverty, social marginalization, lateral violence, intergenerational trauma, cycles of violence, and addictions. The DUDES Club also recognizes a historical context of patriarchy, which has defined inequitable and unsustainable gender roles that all too often see women and certain groups of men have marginalized status in society.
Community Gatherings (DUDES Club Meetings)
Think Tanks (planning meetings)
Outings (parks, sports games, community service, activism, land-based)
Social Network Community building (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube)
Ongoing Evidence-based program design and results tracking
This word cloud was created by members of the DUDES Club in Vancouver in 2012 to present it at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. It represents many themes that are important to the men within the DUDES Club.