A Few Pictures
Pictures, courtesy of Sherry Leavitt (Ottawa, Ontario):
A Post Seminar Report
This particular type of seminar was something that the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health had never hosted before. It was developed in response to the concerns expressed by First Nations leaders, Elders and Grandmothers that not enough was being done to stop the violence against our Aboriginal women and girls. Unlike other self-defence courses that have participants screaming at their imaginary attackers and punching and kicking pads our full day seminar focused on the tough, real life, situations that our Indigenous women and girls face every day - issues that contribute to assaults or becoming murdered and missing.
We started the seminar with a traditional prayer and smudge from Ron Big Bear of the 4 Winds Intertribal Medicine Council, the seminar sponsors, to ask for good training and good discussions. After introductions we began getting to work with some simple concepts and, as we warmed up to one another, we started to delve into some more complex and sensitive areas.
Lunch time (miigwetch Wabano for putting on a stew and soup) allowed us to talk and share in the traditional Anishnabe way that brought on some laughter. After lunch, we got back to the business of learning some hardnose self-defence.
The seminar was, to say the least, a total success. The participants felt the techniques they learned were effective and easy to learn and appropriate to their needs; and I came away feeling satisfied that they are safer and better equipped to defend against and escape an assault.
The good news is Wabano would like to hold another seminar; based on the participants' feedback we may extend it to a two-day seminar to cover more scenarios. So, we are looking for a springtime or summer seminar.
Quite simply, our community didn't wait for government help. We were proactive and did something positive on our own and hope to build on this first seminar so that other Indigenous women and girls from other communities can also benefit from one like it.
Kichi Miigwetch - Nindoodemag