Family Violence Initiative

COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Support Networks for the Families of Murdered and/or Missing Aboriginal Women

Program name:

Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik (Women Walking Together)

Organization:

Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik

Location:

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Target Group:

Everyone.

Contact Name:

Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte

Phone:

306-370-4201

Email:

iskwewukoct2005@hotmail.com

Website:

Facebook group page of the program

Program Overview
History:

The program began in 2005 and is still ongoing. Staffing has decreased from an initial 30 active members to approximately 8.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To create awareness, and keep the memory alive, of missing or murdered Aboriginal women through providing moral and direct support, increasing awareness in the political forum and working with other organizations and programs that are concerned with prevention of violence against women.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The group acknowledges the varied cultural ways of the families and when necessary offers tobacco, food or gift exchange for services rendered as well as support for the hosting of families (travel expenses and food).

Components of program:

The program seeks to support families of victims by providing a forum through which the victim's families can share their struggles and stories with the community. This increases awareness and empathy toward the issue of violence against women. The group organizes vigils, walks, and fundraisers. The group also attempts to gain media coverage and public service announcements to increase public awareness of the issue of Aboriginal women going missing and being murdered.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided nationally, as needed, for events.

Funding:

The program receives donations from collaborators and fundraisers. They also receive monies from public figures. All members are volunteers.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

The members of the group play the biggest role in this highly responsive work. So it is the response from members (i.e. planning how to be supportive; planning actions - vigils, walks, fundraisers; participating in other walks). There is always involvement by family members (of the missing and murdered women). The families bring their struggles and challenges and they need members' supports.

Partners:

Amnesty International, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, University of Saskatchewan Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan Native Knowledge Centre, SIAT, Public Service Alliance Commission, Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women's Circle Corp., Kinsmen Activity House, Saskatoon City Police Services. University of Saskatchewan Ariel Sallows Chair, Oskayak High school, E-Gadz, Saskatchewan Indian and Métis Friendship Centre

Other relationships:

Families of victims form an essential partnership with the program.

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

N/A

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured in terms of the numbers of people attending events as well as whether the number of groups that partner with the program has increased. Success is also measured by how much media coverage increases on a yearly basis and what kind of media coverage is given to the issue. For example, one measureable change is that stories now achieve front page status as opposed to being buried in the middle of a paper.

Achievements:

The numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Saskatoon have decreased. Providing a support network to families of victims that becomes a lasting community for those families.

Challenges:

Having no funding (purely volunteer organization) to help more families or provide compensation to those who do the work.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. People need to be inclusive. Everyone has a different gift to bring to the group. Testimonials from families should be included in the program to allow their voices to be heard.

Resources:

Funding is essential to maximize effectiveness of the program. The more funding made available the more families can be helped and the greater the program's ability to generate awareness.

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