Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak’s (MKO) missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) liaison unit is one of 24 organizations across the province getting funding to provide supports and services for victims of crime, the provincial government announced April 1.
The MKO Indigenous Men and Boys are Part of the Solution to Building Healthy and Safe Communities project will run for three years and aims to help prevent male-perpetrated domestic violence against First Nations women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
“We need to build new ways and initiatives that deal with and confront gender-based violence, while also empowering women, girls, and 2SlGBTQQIA+ people,” said MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “It is important that we show leadership by engaging men and boys to take an active part in preventing and eliminating gender-based violence.”
Land-based cultural programming will be used to help develop tools for men and boys to truly understand the impact of violent actions on themselves, their victims and their communities, MKO says.
“This project is very important as it will be Indigenous-led through its development and implementation at the community level,” said MMIWG liaison unit manager Hilda Anderson-Pyrz. “One of the key outcomes is to enhance the safety and well-being of First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people through the direct inclusion of men and boys as being part of the solution on ending gender-based violence.”
Providing funding to this program aligns with the 231 Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into MMIWG as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action,m the province said.
“Our government recognizes the need to provide victims of crime with enhanced supports and we know that agencies working on the front lines are in the best position to develop the programming needed,” said Justice Minister Cameron Friesen.
Other organizations receiving some of the $6.4 million in government funding announced on Thursday include The Pas Committee for Women in Crisis (Aurora House) and three agencies that support victims of sexual violence – Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Hear Medicine Lodge, Survivor’s Hope Crisis Centre and the Western Manitoba Women’s Regional Resource Centre.
“These agencies provide critically important support in their communities and are key to advancing the work of the Gender-Based Violence Framework that our government announced in December,” said Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, who oversees the status of women portfolio. “In developing this framework we listened to the people working on the front lines to address gender-based violence, as well as those whose lives are impacted by it. Thanks to this work, we know this investment aligns with the priority needs of Manitobans.”
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the province will be sharing resources and information on the topic through its social media pages to encourage Manitobans to share them and learn more about sexual assault.