Family Violence Initiative



Raising Awareness in Broader Community

Program name:

Indigenous Rights Program (part of KAIROS)




Ottawa, Ontario / Serving 80 network groups across Canada

Target Group:


Contact Name:

Ed Bianchi


613-235-9956 ext: 221



Program Overview

The Indigenous Rights Program began in 2001 and has enjoyed significant growth over the years. It is now a priority program within KAIROS. A few years ago KAIROS, during a restructuring that involved a reduction in the number of staff, members (founding churches and network groups) were solicited as to what KAIROS should focus on. The answer was human rights, and specifically, the Indigenous Rights Program. The issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada was one of the first that KAIROS worked on and its involvement has deepened over the years.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

The role of KAIROS and the Indigenous Rights Program is to provide assistance to Indigenous organizations and individuals who are working on issues of violence against Indigenous women. This includes encouraging public awareness of the realities of Aboriginal people with an emphasis on the women (such as discrimination, racism, the effects of colonialism), helping people become comfortable enough to provide genuine assistance to them, and encouraging the personal and collective empowerment of grassroots women.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

To provide culturally sensitive services the Indigenous Rights Program relies on the expertise of the groups that the program works with; all events regionally reflect regional traditions in that initiative, through the partnerships.

Components of program:

The program works closely with women who are victims of violence through partnerships that enable network groups to better support the organizations. This includes assisting victims of violence and eradicating the root causes of that violence. The focus is on targeting the roots of violence. It involves visionary, forward thinking and educating on systemic issues, such as historical causes of injustice, colonialism, racism, oppression and by raising awareness of their effects. The hope is that by doing this the program can lessen and eliminate those effects.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facility.


Provided by KAIROS' member churches.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

All the materials used by the program come from Aboriginal communities and organizations that are working in this area, including the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), and at regional levels, the Native Women's Association of Canada's (NWAC's) provincial/territorial organization members. Insofar as those women groups are involved, the resources, workshop set-ups, approaches and methodologies are informed by those organizations and communities.


The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Walk for Justice, Families for Sisters in Spirit.

Other relationships:

The program works through regional networks, works closely with Friendship Centres across the country and the Native Women's Association of Canada's (NWAC's) provincial and territorial organization members.

Details of Program Evaluation

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:


Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured by the number of people that get involved in the different initiatives. The more people who get involved in these activities, the greater the awareness of the violence against Aboriginal women, and the more likely that people will be moved to do something concrete about it.


The program has been able to significantly raise awareness of this issue within its member groups. It is an effective way to introduce people to related issues such as colonialism, discrimination, and racism. Through work on this issue, program staff can help people to understand what it's like for certain populations to live under these conditions on a daily basis, all their lives.


The pervasive and profound ignorance about Indigenous peoples is the biggest obstacle. The persistent lack of knowledge of the historical events that have shaped, and keep shaping, the problems faced today by Aboriginal people, is a challenge. So many program members don't have this information; and so a big part of the staff's work involves helping them to better understand how history has shaped today's reality, and what impact it has on the issue of violence against Indigenous women today.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. Organizations, communities and the program partner groups need to know how to prepare for a long process that involves relationship-building, trust-building, and using history as a teaching tool, especially since so many people do not know the history of Indigenous peoples and their realities in today's society. A lot of education is needed, in an active cross-cultural way that incorporates both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ways of teaching and learning. Public knowledge and understanding helps to combat stereotypes, and the all-too-common practice of blaming the victims – the marginalized - for their plight.


Adequate funding, staffing and an established network are needed to ensure the program's success.