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
Raising Awareness in Broader Community
- Program name:
The Gookomisag Odanokiitaanaawaa Mino Bimaadiziwin (Grandmothers Working for Good Life)
- Target Group:
Everyone (with a focus on Aboriginal women).
- Contact Name:
Leslie Spillett, Executive Director
The program was initiated in 2006 as a result of a horrific case where an Aboriginal man sexually abused his daughter. When it was brought to light, the daughter was banned from the community and the community later appeared at his parole hearing to successfully argue for his release. He soon reoffended with another young female relative. The case took on a high profile and a group of individual women, most of whom were grandmothers or of grandmother age, banded together to provide service around the idea that all children matter and that the grandmothers will be there to help stop all abuse of Aboriginal women and children. The group has gained a public identity through its volunteer work and organizing of events in the past five years.
- Goals & Objectives:
To provide the community a voice and assert that violence against Aboriginal women and children must stop; to provide organizational and spiritual support to that end; and to increase public awareness concerning health issues through events, education and spiritual ceremonies.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
The program provides and/or hosts monthly full moon ceremonies, celebrations, water ceremonies, grandmother teachings and participates in wellness activities throughout the community.
- Components of program:
The volunteer group of grandmothers has a number of women pipe carriers and others with other gifts. They provide ceremonial comfort and prayers for the victims of violence and for the community. They have gone into correction facilities and conducted ceremonies and held discussions with Aboriginal men serving life sentences, about what Aboriginal women need from the male community and they were very well accepted. They provide pipe ceremonies as well as other ceremonies specific to Aboriginal women spirituality. They have organized walks for victims of violence in the Aboriginal community and work to associate the date of September 24 (Equinox) as a day of protection of children with wellness and health. This group of grandmothers seeks to assist in the transfer of Traditional Knowledge and to sustain a positive way of thinking for Aboriginal women and children. A basic sharing among each other and with the broader collective is a constant aspect of the program.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided throughout the community and in correctional institutions.
No official financial funding is received. The program has received "in kind" support from various organizations.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
The entire work of the group of grandmothers is concerned with the involvement of the Aboriginal communities and families of Winnipeg and surrounding areas.
- Other relationships:
Details of Program Evaluation
No evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by the movement of the victim to a place of responsibility in a kind and gentle way where they can protect themselves and others.
Increasing public awareness of issues through organized walks. Successfully implementing their programming in correctional institutions.
The difficulty in quantifying positive changes that are qualitative in nature. This makes it hard to provide data within restrictive reporting mechanisms.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. Community support for this kind of program is essential.
Building relations with correctional institutions would be beneficial for this kind of program.
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