The Yukon government has awarded a total of $175,000 to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women.
The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle (WAWC), Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and Selkirk First Nation were all recipients of either one- or two-year pots of funding from the 2020-22 cycle of the Prevention of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund (PVAAW), the Yukon government said in a press release Oct. 13.
“Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, said in the press release.
“We know that the most effective solutions for violence against Indigenous women and girls come from the community and work for the community. By providing safe spaces to build cultural connections and expand opportunities for trauma-informed learning, these projects will help improve the lives of women and girls throughout Yukon.”
Gaye Hanson, a consultant for the WAWC, said in an interview Oct. 15 that the organization was “very grateful” for the money from PVAAW.
It’s receiving two years’ worth of funding for it Cultural Connections Peer Support Project, which Hanson said builds on workshops and arts and crafts circles the WAWC has hosted previously and were well-attended but only lasted one or two sessions. This project, she explained, would allow for the WAWC to partner with other organizations who work with at-risk women on a day-to-day basis in order to help bring them into a supportive environment where they can engage in culturally-enriching activities, learn life skills and socialize.
“What we’re hoping to do and in the process of doing is developing an Indigenous approach to peer support, so making sure that the cultural considerations of bringing circles together are sort of foundational to our approach,” she said.
The WAWC will be using its first year of funding to develop peer-support and mentorship models, and the second year to roll out the project more broadly and to train more peer-support facilitators.
“Two-year funding is just so much easier to deal with because it means, you know, you can actually do all the development work and preparatory work and partnership development up front and actually pilot-test something,” Hanson said.
Other funded projects include First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun’s two-year Circle of Dreams Women’s Groups, which will see weekly support groups for women in Mayo as well as biweekly activity meetings; Selkirk First Nation’s Awareness as a Path to Wellness, a two-tier, two-year program that will train caregivers on how to deal with vicarious trauma and community members on how to recognize violence; and Skookum Jim Friendship Centre’s Beads and Blessing for Aboriginal Women, a one-year program that will offer a biweekly group for at-risk women and youth to gather and meet safely with the support of elders.
No one from the the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Skookum Jim Friendship Centre or Selkirk First Nation was available for comment before presstime.
Contact Jackie Hong at email@example.com