The causes of disempowerment that many Indigenous women and girls experience are rooted in historical factors including colonialism, racism, and residential schools. The impacts of these historical factors have resulted in profound harm to Indigenous communities including loss of culture and language, alienation, poverty, unemployment, addiction, loss of healthy life skills, and an erosion of traditional knowledge and values including the experience of socially, culturally and spiritually nourishing relationships.
ANFCA’s Provincial Women’s Initiative focuses on addressing systemic barriers that impact Indigenous women’s emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. By working to create positive cultural and systemic shifts, this initiative proposes to support gender equity for Indigenous women at the community level.
This initiative consists of 4 key activities:
- Communication and Resource Development: focused on developing, supporting and/or promoting programs that address violence against Indigenous women and girls and addressing systemic barriers that are producing the environment of violence.
- Increasing Networks and Partnerships: building opportunities for Indigenous women in leadership roles, supporting Friendship Centres to provide program and services for women, creating partnerships with provincial and regional organizations working from a gender lens.
- Piloting Empowerment: In partnership with the Lac La Biche Native Friendship Centre, the development, implementation, and evaluation of an Indigenous Women’s Empowerment program.
- Incorporating Indigenous Cultural Values and Knowledge: Introducing and ensuring an Indigenous perspective is used in programs, services, and provincial strategies that address systemic barriers impeding Indigenous women’s success and leadership.
Along with local Friendship Centres, ANFCA has created a Provincial Women’s Advisory Committee to help guide and broaden the Initiative vision and voice issues from a regional perspective.