For the past 11 years, on October 5th, Beendigen has celebrated the accomplishments and achievements of Indigenous women within the community at our annual Honouring Indigenous Women’s Day ceremony. We look forward to this event every year, as it is a day of celebration, of laughter, of stories, and of coming together to recognize the strength, bravery, and incredible spirits of Indigenous women.
Since Beendigen was established in 1978 to provide temporary shelter for Indigenous women and children who were facing violence and abuse, it has continued to evolve and broaden its range of services offered. From counselling, to numerous support groups, to pre-and-postnatal programs, to our Ontario-wide helpline Talk4Healing, to transitional housing support, the supports and resources offered by Beendigen continue to grow. We strive to help families heal through traditional teachings and cultural connection, as we believe culture is vital to the healing journeys of families who have experienced violence and abuse. The pandemic has not stalled us in our mission to provide services, supports, and shelter for Indigenous women. We are adapting our processes and policies as more and more becomes known about the Coronavirus and we are always here to help women in crisis.
The pandemic has been an exceedingly difficult time for everyone from all corners of the globe. COVID-19 and the havoc it has wrought has drastically increased stress levels, incidences of domestic violence and abuse, and mental health crises. Through all the hardships exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, Indigenous women have been there for those in their lives, continuing onward in these uncertain times with courage, kindness, and resilience.
Due to the pandemic, we are of course unable to hold our 12th Honouring Indigenous Women’s Day ceremony as originally planned. We still wanted to do something to honour Indigenous women, so we have asked our social media followers to nominate (tag) an Indigenous woman in their life who inspires them, or who has made positive strides in her own life/had a positive impact on the lives of others. Five of these women will be chosen randomly to win a gift basket. The nominations have been very moving, and they highlight the fact that Thunder Bay and the surrounding area has an incredible community of strong Indigenous women who seek to empower one another and others.
A few of the of the uplifting comments shared in the nominations are shared here (there are many more!):
- “[She] is a strong and loving mother who inspires me with her love of family and her love for our people. She walks the red road and loves to support Indigenous artists/creators. She most definitely deserves a nomination because she is breaking cycles and raising strong, loving, and respectful boys!”
- “My daughter, for following her dreams, succeeding in her goals, and continuing to keep up with her education even though she is doing it away from home at a young age.”
- “She’s always teaching others about the land and our traditional teachings and welcoming others with open arms. And she always uses her voice to stand up for our people! I’m very PROUD to call her my sister!”
- “[She] has been through lots, overcome lots, and always takes a moment to listen to someone and make sure they are seen and heard.”