Longhouse ceremony revived as part of anti-violence initiative

NANAIMO – The B.C. government has given Snuneymuxw First Nation $7,500 for its Wise Women project to end violence against women and girls.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation will revive a cultural longhouse ceremony that has all but disappeared, as part of a province-wide initiative to end violence against aboriginal women and youth.

The province has announced new funding for 37 community organizations targeting violence against aboriginal women and girls, including $7,500 for the Snuneymuxw First Nation and its Wise Women project.

According to a provincial government press release, organizations will share close to $350,000 in grants under the Giving Voice Initiative, which provides Aboriginal people with a safe opportunity to give voice to issues of violence and abuse.

The Snuneymuxw initiative is one of five Vancouver Island-based projects to tap into the funding. The local program was created by Snuneymuxw women and elders, and will see women tell and record stories of resilience and strength in overcoming violence during a three-day retreat. There will also be a public event that includes a cultural longhouse ceremony to bring back respect for women and their unique role of creator – a practice that has all but disappeared since European contact, the release says.

Under the province’s terms, the project must be completed by Nov. 30, 2015.

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