A spirited group of West Coast women convened at the Friends of Clayoquot Sound Community Space in Tofino last week to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Hosted by the team from the Westcoast Community Resources Society (WCCRS), the event included massages by Su Casa Wellness Co. followed by a delightful lunch catered by Earth Mama Love Kitchen.
After enjoying the complimentary community lunch, the ladies gathered to listen to a presentation on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry.
“In meeting with the Minister John Rustad who is the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, the recommendations we brought forward as Nuu-chah-nulth people was that they support family gathering in our territory,” said Carol Frank, the aunt of Lisa Marie Young who went missing from Nanaimo 14 years ago.
“With a lot of families that came from Nuu-chah-nulth they wanted more family members to go, but they only allowed four members to attend. We needed the support of more of our family and where they could speak too.”
“We asked that cultural sensitivity training be mandated and required for people working with the ministers,” said Frank. “The minister also agreed the creation of specialized groups was being discussed in the government. We spoke about better communications with the RCMP and a task force specially trained to work on missing and murdered cases and stronger penalties for violent crimes.”
“It was good. We had seven Nuu-chah-nulth that came together as a group and spoke the Minister about these recommendations. We’re hoping that it’s going to keep going forward,” she said.
To keep Lisa’s memory alive alongside all the missing or murdered women in Canada, the Nuu-chah-nulth family also recommended that the Minister support the creation of a commemorative pole or memorial wall.
The Women’s Day event wrapped up with a screening of the film Fury For the Sound, which portrays the important role women had in fighting to protect clearcut logging in Clayoquot Sound.
In addition to hosting community building events, WCCRS provides free and confidential services for residents of Ucluelet, Tofino and the nations of Toquaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht and Hesquiaht.
Some of the services WCCRS offer include: women’s, youth, and child counselling, a 24-hour transition house, and a free hot soup lunch every Thursday in Ucluelet. Anyone seeking more information about services or to book an appointment is welcome to call 250-726-2343 or visit http://wccrs.ca.