Gloria Tiljoe-Mann

Friendship Centre hosts safety information workshop

Twenty-five people gathered last week to learn about abuse and marginalization of indigenous women and plan ways to give safety and healing.

Twenty-five people gathered at the Houston Friendship Centre last week to learn about abuse and marginalization of indigenous women and talk about ways to bring safety and healing.

The Indigenous Communities’ Safety Project was a three day workshop to open up the dialogue and seek to understand perspectives, challenges and abuses of indigenous women, said Belinda Lacombe, coordinator of the workshop and stopping-the-violence counselor at Northern Society for Domestic Peace.

A partnership between the Northern Society for Domestic Peace and the Ending Violence Association of B.C., and funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the purpose of the workshop is “to facilitate more partnerships and hopefully some protocols within our community and a really solid safety plan that everyone has a say in,” Lacombe said.

Within the already marginalized indigenous population there is a subpopulation of indigenous women, who have been impacted differently than men by things like colonization and legislation, said Barbara Barker, chair of the Northern Society of Domestic Peace.

For example, the Indian Act, federal legislation regulating who is a status indian, was created with a gender bias: if an indigenous man got married to a non-indigenous woman, their wife became a status indian, but if an indigenous woman married a non-indigenous man, she lost her indian status, Barker said.

And with the women who have gone missing along the Highway of Tears, the history of colonization isn’t separate from understanding where and why those women have been taken, Barker added.

Lacombe and stopping-the-violence outreach worker Marylyn George did research in Houston and Hazelton, asking indigenous women about their level of safety and what they felt could help them, then they wrote the curriculum with Beverly Jacobs, overall project coordinator, said Lacombe.

The project is being tested in 14 communities across B.C. and it is based on the idea that everyone can offer something unique and important, said Lacombe.

“It’s bringing the circle back in… we’re inviting people to come into the circle and share power and see each other as equal,” she said.

“Nobody’s voice is any more important than anyone else’s.”

The group, including indigenous women leaders and hereditary chiefs, as well as service workers from Northern Health, Houston Link to Learning and other community services, and systems people from the RCMP, started the workshop on Monday, Nov. 19, with discussion on the history and impacts of colonization, said Lacombe.

Tuesday’s topics were legislation and “the right to be safe,” and “breaking the silence,”  about what violence against women looks like, and Wednesday they discussed healing, with each person developing and sharing their own ideas about how they would take responsibility within their positions and roles in the community – be it mother, counselor, teacher or friend.

“It went way better than I thought it would, it was fabulous… people were open… it created an understanding of why indigenous women are way more at risk in our community and it created an empathy and compassion,” said Lacombe.

“Houston is a pretty awesome place to live when it comes to that and there’s a lot of capacity here when people come together around a table,” she added.

The community action plan came together as a quilt, with each person in the workshop making and contributing one square to show what they can do to help indigenous women in this community.

Lacombe says she hopes to hang the quilt in a public place, where people can see it, get a feel for the issue and maybe see where they can get involved to help.

 

Just Posted

Giesbrecht found guilty of second-degree murder

Murder is only rational conclusion from evidence, Judge says

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

Convicted animal abuser Catherine Adams to return to B.C. court in July

Catherine Adams is under a 20-year ban on owning animals, from a 2015 sentence in Smithers

Good job boys

Oakley (L) and Storm sold lemonade in Houston to raise money to… Continue reading

The north, rural areas deserve own ICBC rates, says Houston council

Matter to be considered at provincial convention this fall

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parent’s cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read