Good Day. We hope that everyone is well and staying safe!
November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is defined as occurring when people in intimate relationships (current or previously dating, married or living together) use abusive behaviour to control or hurt partners. It can take place among families and can happen to women and men of all ages, cultures, income levels, religions, professions, genders, relationships, and abilities. According to the West Central Women’s Resource Centre in Winnipeg, women are at a 20% higher risk than men to experience violence, Indigenous women are killed at six times the rate of non-Indigenous women, and Manitoba’s rate of violence against women is double the national rate. And children who witness domestic or family violence are more likely to normalize such relationships.
Since Time Immemorial, most First Nations (Indigenous) peoples were matriarchal societies in that the status and importance of women in families, communities, and decision-making was elevated. Women were held in high regard. Today, many First Nations (Indigenous) communities are doing the work of reclaiming, restoring, and revitalizing the ways and systems of our ancestors.
November 1st, 2018 was when November was provincially-proclaimed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month; however, it is important to always remember and continue the work in raising awareness and creating change. Most recently, FNT2T Life Long Learning invited Andrea Landry to contribute her knowledge on Indigenous kinship, parenting, and motherhood. Landry is a life skills coach who runs a variety of programs in the areas of parenting, health and wellness, social justice, colonialism, Indigenous kinship, grief and recovery, trauma, and other topics. She teaches Indigenous Studies for the University of Saskatchewan, and has also done therapist work for schools on reserve. She holds a Masters in Communications and Social Justice from the University of Windsor, with a degree in Child and Youth Care and a diploma in Social Work from Vancouver Island University. She is a mother, an Indigenous rights defender, a freelance writer, blogger, and strives to provide individuals, families, and communities with the tools they need in order to create change for themselves. Ms. Landry is committed to the reclamation and restoration of Indigenous ways and healthy relationships for Indigenous communities, women, families, children, and youth in the face of colonialism and its effects. This is important ongoing work.
With the onset of covid-19 requiring individuals and families to stay home, it is important for everyone to feel safe. If during this time, or any time, someone you know is being abused, call 1-877-977-0007. This number is for crisis and/or just wanting to talk about a situation. The Parkland region also has the Parkland Crisis Centre (Dauphin). Additionally, there are Indigenous organizations who offer support in domestic and family violence such as Wahbung Abinoonjiiag (Winnipeg), Ikwe-Widdjiitiwin Inc (Winnipeg, 1-800-362-3344), and Spirit of Peace Program at Ma Mawi-Wi-Chi-Itata Centre Inc. (Winnipeg). Caring for ourselves and one another is an act of resistance. Loving ourselves is an act of resistance. Resist and revitalize. Miigwetch!