THUNDER BAY – Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek Health and Social Services honoured mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, and grandmothers who have suffered from violence in their lives. Today, the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) First Nation is hosting a full day event in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with a goal to bring together both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to recognize the epidemic of violence perpetrated against thousands of Indigenous women and girls, and to also acknowledge the future role of all community members in this challenge.
On Saturday, the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) First Nation hosted a full day event in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with a goal to bring together both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to recognize the epidemic of violence perpetrated against thousands of Indigenous women and girls, and to also acknowledge the future role of all community members in this challenge. There were about eighty people who came out to participate.
Statistics Canada reports that Indigenous women in Canada are three times more likely to face violence than non-Indigenous women, and are more likely to experience more severe and potentially life-threatening forms of family violence.
“We need to consider what we leave our children. Indigenous women are experiencing disproportionate levels of violence. The journey to move forward must start in our homes at a local level by having real conversations about how we can support and protect women in our communities. Our voices must be unified and action needs to be taken in order to prevent future generations of Indigenous women and girls from experiencing violence. The issue needs to be kept top of mind for the younger generations;” says Chief Joe Ladouceur.
“The #MeToo movement has been prominent in the media and we need to acknowledge that this effects all communities including First Nations and Indigenous women;” continued Chief Ladouceur.
One of the Elders spoke of how our men beating their partners is never been a part of who we are as Anishinabek people and spoke of the importance of remaining friends with women whom he had close relations within their past because of the respect he had for them and those women were happy with him.
The event featured a drum and smudge, Elder presentation, Faceless Dolls workshop, a Beading workshop and concluded with a Feast and Friendship Gathering PowWow.
Entertainment included singer-songwriter Angus Jourdain. The Lac La Croix First Nation member’s music focuses on the empowerment of women and the preservation of Indigenous culture.
“We can all become a part of the movement to end violence against Indigenous women. I hope today’s event empowered participants and re-energized their spirits. The workshops were delivered as a way for participants to better understand violence against Indigenous women, and the root causes such as intergenerational trauma, poverty and the dismantling of traditional family structures;” says BNA Director of Health and Social Services, Edna Hodgkinson. “Our mothers and daughters, our sisters, aunties, and grandmothers, are our heart and our spirit, always honoured and never forgotten.”