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Honouring Their Voices raises awareness for MMIWG

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Click here to view original web page at Honouring Their Voices raises awareness for MMIWG

Kendra Weenie speaks about recovering from an abusive relationship in her presentation. (Angela Brown/battlefordsNOW Staff) Weenie, a Cree woman from Sweetgrass First Nation, reached out to get help when she was in need and accessed counselling services as part of her recovery. She said domestic abuse is common in […]


Kendra Weenie speaks about recovering from an abusive relationship in her presentation. (Angela Brown/battlefordsNOW Staff)

Weenie, a Cree woman from Sweetgrass First Nation, reached out to get help when she was in need and accessed counselling services as part of her recovery.

She said domestic abuse is common in many First Nation communities, especially the more isolated ones. The legacy of the residential school system continues to affect Indigenous communities, she said, adding that domestic violence is part of the negative cycle that puts Indigenous women at risk.

“We need to start taking our power back,” she said to the Indigenous women in the audience. “We need to start believing that we are worthy.”

Weenie said the trauma victims continue to experience from abuse will not go away unless we talk about it.

She is currently working on a book about her experience.

Senator Lillian Dyck, right, speaks to Randy Bird, uncle of Ashley Morin who went missing in 2018. (Angela Brown/battlefordsNOW Staff)

In her presentation, Senator Lillian Dyck discussed the importance of amending the criminal code so there is stricter sentencing for offenders when victims are women, especially Indigenous women.

I’ve been working on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women from the day when I was first appointed to the Senate in 2005,” she said in her presentation. “We have progressed a lot since then.”

Dyck said society can remember and honour missing and murdered women by “taking action to protect them in our laws.”

She pointed to statistics that indicate Indigenous women are at a greater risk of being the victim of violence compared to others. They are three to four times more likely to be sexually assaulted or murdered, and seven times more likely to be targeted by serial killers.

New legislation she spearheaded that is close to being passed will ensure women and Indigenous women who go to court, with charges against someone who abused them, will have a much better chance of getting a fair trial.

Dyck further said she is looking forward to seeing the findings and possible recommendations of the long-awaited National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls that is expected to be released on June 3.

“It’s tremendous,” she said. “It reminds me of when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their report. We were sitting there hoping for good things.”

Family and friends of missing North Battleford woman Ashley Morin also attended the event. She has been missing for close to a year.

Randy Bird, Morin’s uncle, said the family gains strength seeing support in the community.

Bird said he is grateful to Catholic Family Services and the other organizations that help Morin’s family feel they are not alone in their suffering.

“They may not be holding our hands, and that’s not what we want,” Bird said. “We just need to know there are people who are in positions of influence that will help us bring the message out there that things like this have to stop.

“It does affect all of us,” he said of the tragedy of MMIWG. “We need to work together. This is a good sign that that’s happening.”

angela.brown@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @battlefordsnow

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