#WalkingTogether; #Ontario'sLongTermStrategy; #DavidZimmer, #EndViolenceAgainstIndigenousWomen, #Ontario, #Indigenouspeoples, #FamilyWellBeingProgram, #HarinderMalhi, #SylviaMaracle, #DawnLavellHarvard
Ottawa, Mar 18 (Canadian-Media): Ontario is investing $100 million on 'Walking Together': Ontario's Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women' over three years to address violence against Indigenous women and girls as one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, media reports said.
“Walking Together is an example of the good that comes from governments and policymakers listening to Indigenous communities and working hand-in-hand with them on their priorities. Two years into the strategy, I’m proud of the province’s work and our accomplishments with Indigenous partners. More remains to be done, but Ontario is committed to continuing to walk together with First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and communities, to see this strategy through,” David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation was reported to state.
David Zimmer. Image credit: Facebook page
The second progress report released in Feb 2016 on 'Walking Together' stressed on strategies to raise awareness, creation of culturally appropriate programming, improving socio-economic conditions to stop violence indigenous women experience, and to support their healing and wellness.
'Family Well-Being Program', an essential part of Walking Together, is also reportedly being implemented by First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous partners in more than 250 sites and communities across Ontario, with more than 200 program workers to make lives safer for indigenous children and families.
“Indigenous women, like all women in the province, deserve to feel safe wherever they are. We have made important progress on this goal in the two years since Walking Together was launched. Through the Kanawayhitowin: Taking Care of Each Other’s Spirit prevention and education campaign initiative, we have reached more than 52,000 people to raise awareness of the signs of violence against women in their communities,” Harinder Malhi, Ontario Minister for Status of Women was reported to state.
Harinder Malhi. Image credit: LinkiedIn
The executive committee that guides implementation of the strategy comprises representatives from the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Ontario Native Women’s Association, Chiefs of Ontario, the Métis Nation of Ontario, Independent First Nations, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Six Nations.
“I am happy to see the continued growth and progress of... Walking Together...developed out of years of collaborative work between Indigenous organizations and activists...OFIFC has been part of this work from the very beginning...looks forward to another year of progress through stronger relationships, greater collaboration, and better outcomes for our women, girls and communities,' Sylvia Maracle. Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres was reported to state.
Other key accomplishments of 'Walking Together' include Enacting the 'Missing Persons Act', which, when implemented, will make investigations missing persons more timely and effective; Hosting the fifth National Indigenous Women's Summit which would bring approximately 300 delegates together to workshop and recommend the best ways to empower Indigenous women now and in the future; Developing a Performance Measurement Framework to measure the success of Walking Together to improve how Ontario measures the success of Indigenous-focused initiatives.
“Walking Together has provided the Ontario Native Women’s Association and the communities we serve the opportunity to develop ...creation of many new programs and supports...meant to address...the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people in Ontario. Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people have sustained their families and communities through colonization..and ensure that policy, regulation, laws and programs increase their safety and well-being,” Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Ontario Native Women’s Association was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)