Indigenous people continue to work to break the cycle of violence, rebuild relationships, educate family and community members about sexual violence, encourage community members to speak out, and incorporate traditional practices and strength based approaches into their health care and community programming.
There are several important Mi’kmaq initiatives that work to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence Project
The Paqtnkek Project was created to respond to the lack of culturally relevant, revitalizing and safe approaches to addressing sexualized violence in their community.
The Paqtnkek Health Centre and the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services Association worked together to develop Mi’kmaq-specific and community-led initiatives to respond to and prevent sexualized violence. The program has included community healing circles; storytelling, art, and music nights; public education; a community supporters team; and cultural competency training for non-community service providers. The project has also started a male youth group, the Paqtnkek Warriors Program, and one for Two Spirit community members.
A toolkit has also been developed as a guide for other communities who want to do similar work.
Jane Paul Mi'kmaq Women's Resource Centre, Sydney
In the fall of 2015, the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association noticed a glaring gap in supports for young Indigenous women and created the Jane Paul Mi’kmaq Women’s Resource Centre. The Centre provides a safe environment for at-risk Indigenous women in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and services such as advocacy, counseling, cultural and spiritual teachings, and sexual and mental health information. The Centre also offers programs focused on skills development and building collective capacity.
The Centre incorporates traditional teachings and ceremonies, guided by the seven sacred teachings.
Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Center
The Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Phone Line is available toll free 24/7 to Mi’kmaw people across the province. The Center also provides online support through the Eskasoni Crisis Worker Facebook account. The line was created in 2009 as a response to a series of suicides and drug related deaths and are services of Eskasoni Mental Health.
The “Eskasoni First Nation: Eskasoni Today” video by Cassidy Jean McAuliffe features the Crisis Line and Eskasoni Mental Health.
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