With help from a $100,000 government grant, the YWCA is facilitating Indigenous-led retreats at Camp Yowochas for healing experiences based on Indigenous cultural practices and activities.

“Healing gatherings firmly grounded in Indigenous culture provide an added level of support, comfort and care for survivors and families. Alberta’s government is proud to support this project, and we thank the YWCA for being allies in this work led by Indigenous women.”   

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“YWCA Edmonton is humbled and honoured to be working with so many incredible female Indigenous leaders on this groundbreaking project that centres ceremony, land-based learning and community. The ripple effects will be felt for generations to come, as we all stand together to ensure the family members of the MMIWG2S+ crisis find much-needed love, healing and support.”

Katherine O’Neill, CEO, YWCA of Edmonton

These trauma-informed camps are providing a therapeutic space for families and loved ones to start their healing journeys through art, ceremony and relationships. This project, which is being called Healing Haven, may be used as a model by other organizations and communities that want to host healing retreats.

“I had the most fantastic weekend at Healing Haven. All our sharing circles were done in a sacred space with love and kindness. Prayers were plentiful. Mine were for my children and grandchildren, and to embrace change and to let go of what does not serve purpose in my life, to include the clarity and strength to do so. It was so needed for me to connect with the amazing group of Iskwewahk – finding connection and making new friendships. I was definitely where I was supposed to be.”

Andrea Jackson, Healing Haven participant

This funding is part of $1.5 million provided during the 2021-22 fiscal year to support Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and their families. It is part of a larger effort across the Alberta government to tackle this ongoing crisis.

Premier’s Council on MMIWG

On June 3, Minister Wilson announced the creation of the Premier’s Council on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Alberta’s government will be announcing the members of this council soon.

The council will guide government actions using Alberta’s MMIWG roadmap to make Alberta safer for Indigenous women, girls and 2S+ people. It will be made up of Indigenous women, 2S+ individuals and government members, who will examine and provide advice regarding provincial laws, policy and programs while tracking progress.