Our leadership team at Serendip attended a two day training program on Responding to Sexual Violence in the Indigenous Community: A Culturally Informed Approach to Service Provision in early November. As consultants working across issues of gender based violence and sex trafficking with communities not just here in Canada, but around the world, we were grateful with the opportunity to attend a training program designed by a local frontline service provider.
In our practice, whether we are assisting organizations with strategic plans, designing programs, evaluating them or even helping to build fundraising campaigns for them, we know that in order to develop meaningful responses to their challenges, we must understand the cultural context of the organization and the people they serve.
The training was crafted to provide the historical context of the Indigenous communities on Turtle Island. Dr. Maya Chacaby led the training by starting with the roots of sexual violence towards Indigenous women. From first contact, the negotiations of the Two Row Wampum Treaty to the subsequent systematic colonization of the Indigenous tribes across North America, she provided us with the necessary background and context to begin the process of becoming informed.
The training which followed included the stories of a survivor of human trafficking whose story was featured in the Toronto Star: Beaten, branded, bought and sold. The training concluded with an exercise in asset mapping. Using tools such as the medicine wheel, we collectively identified responses to two distinct scenarios of sexual violence.
The Native Women's Resource Centre provides a safe provides a safe and welcoming environment for all Aboriginal women and their children in the Greater Toronto Area. Our programs fall under six broad categories: Housing, Families, Advocacy, Employment, Education, and Youth.