Alexander First Nation hosted its first Women’s Empowerment Workshop to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and to share knowledge about how best to stay safe.
Elders, councillors, police officers and families of victims came together for the event.
“The prophesy is that the women are the healers,” said Rita Arcand, an Alexander First Nation councillor, who is also a social worker and elder. “Women gotta heal themselves first, and then we can help our men and children in our communities.”
RCMP Constable Kristin Grabowski, an expert in human trafficking, said the police are “trying to build trust so [individuals] can come forward if they are being exploited.
“But also, it’s really important for the public to educate themselves about sexual exploitation, because it’s happening in our communities.”
Cheryl Savoie, another band councillor, said having dialogue is important.
“[It’s] overdue and necessary because we need to bring the issues to the table and hear from the people,” she said, adding “the women need to be heard and certainly need that understanding that leadership is listening.”
Arcand said the event was “powerful” and “empowering for the soul.”