A conference in Prince Albert inviting people from all sectors to discuss topics around Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, 2Spirit and Gender Diverse People has inspired the creation of an Indigenous support network.
Residential Health Support Workers with the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Health and Social Development Department organized the three-day long conference and forum at the Travelodge from May third to fifth to provide a platform for discussions on healing, support, and awareness.
On Wednesday, around 100 individuals from various community sectors shared dialogue surrounding both their hopes for the future and current concerns regarding support for Indigenous people following presentations on human trafficking by Meadow Lake RCMP’s Maryah Walker and University of Saskatchewan Professor Priscilla Settee.
The group all agreed on one thing; the Prince Albert area is severely lacking a network of supports for Indigenous men, women, and children, and something about it needs to change.
PAGC Health Support Worker Edith Kadachuk said the group will spend the next few days writing up their ideas, objectives, and concerns about what they want the network to look like.
“That’s the end goal of this conference, is to put together these people from all these different agencies and get them together in one kind of support network,” said Kadachuk.
Conference attendees also recommended more conferences of similar nature, more gatherings to learn about healing, and more groups for Indigenous people to come together for support.
Kadachuk said hearing from the crowd is an important part of the process.
“In order to really know what they want from the communities; we have to ask them,” said Kadachuk. “And who knows best? The parents, the kookums, [and] the mooshums.”
To ground themselves at the end of the first day, a few women were gathered together in the empty conference room making ribbon skirts, a tradition centred in healing, identity, and connection.