Violence against Aboriginal women is an epidemic in our communities. It is time for communities to acknowledge that it must stop. Aboriginal men across Ontario have acknowledged their responsibility in ending this violence and have committed to supporting communities in engaging men and youth to speak up against violence towards Aboriginal women.
Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin was created to provide an opportunity for communities to engage Aboriginal men and youth in understanding violence against women and to support them in joining together to end the violence. It is designed to offer Aboriginal men and youth a safe place to begin to understand their roles and responsibilities to end violence against Aboriginal young girls and women. It recognizes the challenges youth and men face and encourages opportunities for them to reconnect to their traditional roles within families and communities. It provides a supportive, wholistic model for community healing and can be easily adapted to suit individual communities.
This kit was created out of the community action model of the White Ribbon Campaign which supports grassroots men’s movements in ending violence around the world. In almost 50 countries, the White Ribbon Campaign supports men and boys to examine their attitudes and actions. They are asking important questions about creating healthier and happier relationships and are proudly joining with women and girls to end the many forms of violence against women. They are proclaiming “our future has no violence against women”.
This project is a partnership between the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) and the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC). The OFIFC has been actively promoting health and healing among urban Aboriginal people since 1973. They are committed to combating the alarming conditions of poor health and family violence that Aboriginal People in Ontario endure. In 1991, a handful of Canadian men started the White Ribbon Campaign. In many countries, the focus of the campaign is around November 25, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women and, in many countries, referred to simply as “White Ribbon Day”. In some countries, White Ribbon Days continues for one or two weeks. In Canada, it runs from November 25 to December 6, the anniversary of the 1989 murder of 14 women in Montreal by a man who resented women’s achievements and independence. In other countries, the focus is other times of the year. Whenever it is, these focus days are a time for public awareness efforts in schools, workplaces, places of worship, the media and communities.