How can Aboriginal women and girls actively participate in decisions that affect their lives? What strategies and tools do we already have and what new ones do we need?
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (MPNH) and Women Transforming Cities (WTC) were pleased to be continuing dialogue work around Aboriginal Women and Girls Experiences in the City at this January 31st, 2015 café. Working with women, advocates and organizations in the community, including circles with women and families at MPNH, we have had a few great rounds of dialogue to unpack some of the direct impacts women and girls are facing in the city.
In our city we have many services who work tirelessly with Aboriginal women and girls around issues of safety, crisis intervention, and pro-social development to enhance well-being for women and families. Specifically to address violence against women we can work together to identify where agencies overlap and can potentially harm the access or healing process for women escaping violence. We hope through this dialogue initiative to form strategies and tools that we can all use.
As advocates and allies we have a responsibility to build an environment where women and girls can exercise their individual and collective agency to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives. We have the capacity to work together at an administrative and agency level to inform the standards that are expected to protect women and girls, and make those recommendations at various levels of policy and practice.
Natalie Clark, M.S.W. PhD is currently on the faculty with the School of Social Work at UBC, in addition to her ongoing work with Thompson Rivers University and the Justice institute of BC and publication of, “Perseverance, Determination and Resistance: An Indigenous Intersectional-Based Policy Analysis of Violence in the Lives of Indigenous Girls.” Natalie’s practice, teaching and research over the last 20 years has focused on trauma with children, youth and their families and communities and the coping responses to trauma and violence including experiences with issues of sexual exploitation; eating disorders; addictions, youth justice and health. Natalie continues to practice and provide training on violence, resistance and resiliency through her practice in trauma-informed girls groups, and the development and delivery of Indigenous girls groups.
Grace Tait, Manager of Musqeaum Safe Home xʷnac̓θət (A Place of Change), promotes strong cultural approaches to support children and youth who have been impacted by different forms of violence. Working with families, Grace advocates to see children reunify with their families. Her work consists advising First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, with great experience in Vancouver with social change and advocacy agencies like the Mother’s Centre, Network of Inner City Services Society, Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society and the Inner City Response Strategy to name a few.