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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read