WINNIPEG — A three-day moon dance ceremony is marking the beginning of a new retreat in Manitoba for Indigenous women and girls to heal from trauma and violence.
The Clan Mothers Healing Village will be giving mid-to-long-term support for women who have been the victims of multi-generational systemic trauma, sexual violence and exploitation, and human trafficking.
“It’s crucial that we change the way we do things because what’s happening now is not working very well. Our women deserve opportunities. They deserve to be loved and respected for who they are,” Elder Mae Louise Campbell told CTV News.
“This place will be a home, not an institution.”
Campbell said Indigenous women traditionally were leaders and highly respected, but have been devalued for years.
“We have too many children in care, too many missing and murdered women, too many women in prison and it has to stop,” Campbell said.
“Nothing will change in our communities until the women take their rightful place back in the communities with families.”
The Healing Village plans to use an Indigenous matrilineal model of healing.
The land upon which the Healing Village is being built was gifted to the Clan Mothers by the Russo Compassion Network, formally known as the Catholic Health Authority. The 130 acres of lakefront land used to be a camp for girls, many of whom were Indigenous and in the CFS system.
The concept of the Healing Village has been decades in the making, and the Clan Mothers plan to begin construction at the site in the spring.
“But given everything that occurred this summer, we really wanted to get healing happening now,” said Kirstie Pearson, chair of fundraising committee for Clan Mothers Healing Village.
On Sunday evening, the Clan Mothers held the first moon dance as a part of a three-day ceremony.
“It is a very significant ceremony for our young women,” said Elder Billie Schibler. “It’s about celebrating them and their sacredness, it’s about sharing teachings with them, and helping them to know who they are, and what their gifts are that they can offer out there.”
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