Community-led projects give voice to Indigenous women to end violence
The Province is supporting Indigenous communities and organizations to end gender-based violence through 20 unique projects that support and collaborate with Indigenous women and girls throughout B.C.
“We are supporting community-led projects that provide opportunities for healing and violence prevention to ensure the health, well-being and safety of Indigenous women and girls,” said Barb Ward-Burkitt, chair, Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women (MACIW). “Indigenous women are three times more likely to be victims of violence, and these projects give voice to stopping violence against Indigenous women and girls by changing behaviours and attitudes and empowering communities.”
The projects are funded through MACIW’s Giving Voice initiative. This year’s grants support community-led initiatives that encourage dialogue about gender-based violence and opportunities for healing, such as land-based cultural practices and retreats, healing circles, knowledge sharing, monthly gatherings, ceremonies and writing workshops.
“Through this initiative, more people are learning to speak out to end gender-based violence. This is how attitudes will change, and we can create a safe environment that promotes healing,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “I raise my hands to all the courageous participants who are leading and joining in Giving Voice.”
Under the program, grants ranging from $5,000 to $16,000 are provided to community groups to create, develop and offer opportunities that address the issue of gender-based violence. The Province has provided $200,000 in funding for this year’s projects, which span all corners of B.C., including recipients in urban, rural and remote communities, on- and off-reserve.
Some of the successful applicants include:
- Nisitohtomowin – Understanding – acknowledging the inherent resilience of Métis mothers and grandmothers, this project will deepen participants’ understanding of Métis history and the impacts of colonization on women and families, while identifying coping strategies to help women heal. (Cowichan Valley Métis Nation – Duncan)
- Women of Courage Healing Circle – a program for young women that will use the Indigenous Social Determinants of Health as a healing model to end violence. (Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre – Port Hardy)
- Assuming Roles Cultural Immersion Camps – co-developed and delivered with Elders and knowledge keepers, men and women will participate in land-based activities to explore their life’s journey and healing through cultural practices and traditional Indigenous scientific knowledge, such as a Spirit Bath and harvesting of medicinal medicines. (Sea Bird Island Band – Agassiz)
- Exchanging Words – led by professional Indigenous writers, participants will use poetry, short fiction, spoken word and theatre to tell their experiences with violence. (Warriors Against Violence Society – Vancouver)
Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity –
“As we observe the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, it is important to note that in British Columbia, as in the rest of Canada, Indigenous women and girls are more likely to be targeted with this kind of violence. Our government is committed to supporting community-based initiatives, including Indigenous-led programs, to work toward solutions and achieve our goal of addressing and preventing gender-based violence.”
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“The projects funded by the Giving Voice program will make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous women, girls and their families by strengthening local, culturally relevant responses to gender-based violence. Through collaborative, community-led initiatives, these projects will foster safer, more resilient communities.”
- Government has allocated $730,000 over two years (2019-20 and 2020-21) for the Giving Voice program.
- In 2019, Giving Voice supported 53 projects that included over 2,000 participants throughout British Columbia.
For more information on the Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/indigenous-people/minister-s-advisory-council-on-indigenous-women-maciw
A backgrounder with a list of this year’s funding recipients follows.