OTTAWA – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) will hold support circles over the next several weeks to help residential school survivors, their families and others who have been affected by the horrific news that 215 children’s bodies were found in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
On Tuesday of this week, NWAC released its action plan for meeting the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. That plan, called Our Calls, Our Actions contained 65 costed, measurable actions that NWAC will take to begin to address the violence that the Inquiry found to be a genocide against Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.
The cornerstone piece of the NWAC plan is its Resiliency Lodges, one that the association has already built in Chelsea, Que. and others that they intend to replicate across the country.
Over the next weeks, and beyond if the demand continues, NWAC’s Resiliency Lodge will host support circles, via Zoom, in which residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, families and others affected by this tragedy can gather to share their memories and stories in a safe and protected environment. The circles will be Elder led.
“Indigenous women across Canada are grieving the loss of these children, and are revolted by the thought that their deaths were covered up for decades and that families were left to wonder what happened to their sons and daughters,” said NWAC President Lorraine Whitman. “As the representative of Indigenous women from coast to coast to coast, it is NWAC’s responsibility to provide ways to help them deal with that grief. And we can do that through the Resiliency Lodge.”
To date, NWAC has run more than 200 online workshops out of the Resiliency Lodge that have been attended by more than 5,000 Indigenous women.
“The time for aspirational plans to deal with the violence inflicted upon Indigenous people is over,” said Ms. Whitman. “NWAC is taking concrete action and healing plays such an important role.”