Families of MMIW women hope to prevent violence through education
- EFN Staff | March 28, 2017
A one-day conference at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina brought together families and students to learn about women violence and how it could be prevented. Wapanacik Child and Family Services hosted their first conference called Manācih Ikwēwag, which means respect our women.
“Our mandate is to bring positive self-identity to the youth by incorporating Indigenous culture,” says conference organizer Linda Kayseas-Paslowski. “We want them to be aware of the issues that are happening to First Nations people.”
Guest speakers from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) community spoke about what it’s like losing their daughters and they offered advice to women and young girls to prevent the situation happening to others.
Kayseas-Paslowski, a First Nations family worker for the Wapanacik Child and Family Services, says they brought in mothers Gwenda Yuzicappi and Maxine Goforth to tell their stories.
“They’re very vocal and they want people to know about their daughters,” she says. “We felt that would give a good balance idea of what is happening in the situation in Saskatchewan.”
Yuzicappi’s daughter Amber Redman went missing in 2005 and was found dead in 2008 on the Little Black Bear First Nation near Fort Qu'Appelle. Yuzicappi gave a powerful message to always love your children, let them know they are loved, and to always make sure your children are taught to be vigilant. Goforth’s daughter Kelly, 21, was murdered in 2013. She shared her story of losing her daughter and offers advice to the attendees with hopes of bringing awareness.
“Respect yourself as a woman. Educate your young ones and make them aware of the dangers out there that are very real,” she says.
Kayseas-Paslowski adds the conference’s intentions were not to fear-monger but to ensure they leave with awareness.
“We would like them to go back and be able to share with other youth so they understand that,” she says. “They’re not only the carriers of knowledge of what they learned [at the conference] but they’re also people that need to know that this could happen to them.”
In the afternoon, two speakers shared their stories talking about domestic violence and created a dialogue for the youth to know what the boundaries are in healthy relationships.