Culturally grounded healing for Indigenous women in Thunder Bay

Ontario has the largest population of Indigenous women in Canada, a demographic that is disproportionately targeted for violence – including alarming statistics on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Violence within families and communities has become normalized, emphasizing the urgent need for healing programs for Indigenous women in Thunder Bay.

Recognizing this need, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is strengthening their community-responsive programming. These initiatives focus on supporting Indigenous women’s wellness and fostering healing through honouring and sharing spiritual teachings and traditional land-based ceremonial practices.

The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF) is supporting these programs by providing funding that will cover essential program expenses, including staffing, travel, and office and administration costs.

The programs’ foundation lies in cultural healing and community connectedness activities that address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of Indigenous women. Utilizing a culturally trauma-informed approach, they support healing and reconciliation. Guided by Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers, the programs also focus on education and community development.

Established in 1971, ONWA is Canada’s oldest and largest Indigenous women’s organization, with a commitment to creating safe spaces for Indigenous women. ONWA delivers culturally enriched programs and services for Indigenous women and their families – regardless of status or location – using approaches that ensure the voices of Indigenous women inform the design and delivery of services.

Archdiocese of Toronto