Gignoo Transition House Inc., the only Aboriginal women’s shelter in New Brunswick, and the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick, a non-profit organization that helps promote access to the law and the legal system, collaborated on the development of a booklet for Aboriginal women experiencing family violence called Creating Healthy Personal Relationships. The positive and enthusiastic response to the booklet became an inspiration for expanding this collaboration and developing a “toolkit” full of appropriate and culturally sensitive violence prevention resources and information for Aboriginal communities. The kit and all of its components are available on the “Healing Journey” website – www.thehealingjourney.ca
The first step was to form a “Working Group” of key New Brunswick Aboriginal organizations, police and service providers who provide resources on family violence. The working group came together to brainstorm the important information that should be in the kit – information that is often lacking in non-aboriginal materials about family violence. Considerable time, effort and commitment were made by all members of the working group to this project and the members will continue to act as “champions” for violence prevention in their own communities. The response to the New Brunswick toolkit was equally enthusiastic. Aboriginal organizations, police and other service providers across Canada requested copies. In response to this demand, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada provided funding to transform the toolkit and website into a national Aboriginal family violence prevention initiative.
The original Working Group was composed of: