OHSWEKEN – As many know, “Ganohkwasra” (ga-noh-qua-shra) translates to “love among us”.
On Tuesday, April 4 within the Healing Centre of the Ganohkwasra facility, began the introduction to the history of Ganohkwasra and the history of family violence in indigenous communities to a group of 23 people interested in earning certification in Family Violence Prevention Training.
This 30-hour program is hoped to continue with modules from Saturday, April 8 until Thursday, April 27, and offer information and support ranging from elder abuse to revitalizing the family.
Co-ordinator Julia Jamieson explained that these modules will hosts speakers, panellists and support workers from the Six Nations community, and will be the embodiment of “the community helping the community”.
“Our family violence prevention training is very unique,” said Jamieson. “We educate through the Onkwehonw:we perspective. And that being said we do a lot of groundwork, and that being said we do a lot of grounding through self-care because we understand that the topics that will be discussed, there may be triggers, there may be emotions that of course come up. And it’s because we’re talking about centuries of build-up.”
Jamieson offered a time line of history which included: the fur trade, the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, the opening of the Mohawk Institute in 1831, the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857, The Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians in 1869, the Indian Act of 1876, Residential School onslaught of 1920, the removal of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy System in 1924, the Amendment to the Indian Act in 1951, and the Sixties Scoop—which has carried into current child welfare systems.
Jamieson explained that because of these blemishes in Canadian and indigenous history, this program is sensitized to effectively offer support and education to anyone willing to learn.
“For over two decades we’ve offered family violence prevention training. It’s for our clients, it’s for community members, it’s for teachers, principals, and even agency workers,” she said.
Jamieson explained that value of having a good mind and using it as an ideal in the program provides “what is needed to heal.” This co-aligns with the goal of the program, which she explained, is to honour the resiliency of indigenous people as well as heal.
“The main goal is to decrease family violence by understanding the history that has built up to our dysfunctional family roles,” she said. “You know when we talk about elder abuse for example; we were once communal. And you know, we were once communal living and now we’re really trying to do a lot of work as a community to bridge the gap between our elders and our youth.”
This type “bridging the gap” is what is hoped to further the program in helping to support, heal and educate on the matters of all types of family violence. Jamieson explained that her role in the program is to ensure that people feel comfortable and well supported.
“I’m really excited to get to meet the people that I’m going to meet,” she said.
If you are interested in joining this program or would like more information, Jamieson would like you to call her as the Community Educator at 519-445-4324 ext. 237, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a registration fee and a small screening process to better help those that may be triggered by the module content.
Looking ahead, in May, Ganohkwasra will also be hosting their 25th Anniversary during Community Awareness Week.