A new culturally-based program to prevent domestic violence by men is coming to 10 aboriginal communities in the region.
Earlier this month, the provincial government announced $70,000 of funding to Carrier Sekani Family Services in Vanderhoof for its Family Wellness Warriors Initiative.
To prevent men from perpetuating domestic violence, the program will use holistic, traditional, and local knowledge in order to guide men back to their roles as dignified warriors, role models and protectors of women, families and community, states Marilyn Janzen, CSFS’s health and wellness program manager.
“The objective of the program is to help men to reinstate the traditional roles they once held in the community, and reduce their use of violence,” Janzen said. “Participants will learn to consciously make moral and ethical decisions, based on spiritual and cultural traditions and teachings.”
Delivered through CSFS’s Integrated Health and Wellness Program, the new initiative will be carried out by current mental health and addictions recovery staff.
“Through the sharing of individual stories coupled with cultural teachings and experiential learning, men will have the opportunity to learn ways to replace violence with true strength, which is based on their traditional roles and values,” Janzen explained.
The program also aims to open the conversation on domestic violence within the communities.
“Violence is perpetuated by community silence,” she said. “Through participation in the program, men will work to eliminate the shame and guilt experienced by themselves and their victims.”
To be delivered within Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Burns Lake Band, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Stellat’en First Nation, Nadleh Whut’en, Saik’uz First Nation, Takla Lake First Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn Band, Skin Tyee First Nation and Yekooche First Nation, the program is currently in its planning stage, with more details and dates to come through CSFS’s website and social media page.
The new program is one of 24 culture-based anti-domestic violence initiatives that benefited from provincial government funding this month for its Aboriginal Domestic Violence Funding Project — for a total of $1.5 million.
Aboriginal women are three times more likely to experience violence
and be assaulted by their partner than non-Aboriginal women, the provincial government states.
“Many of these programs incorporate Aboriginal culture and traditional practices which will help ensure the content resonates with the participants and have a meaningful impact in the lives of Aboriginal families throughout B.C.,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.