Quebec Native Women confronts bullying with youth-centred tools

November 23, 2017

Canada’s Indigenous youth population is one of the fastest growing groups. By 2026, the number of 15-19-year-old Indigenous youth is projected to be 37% larger than in 2001 (compared to 6% for the same age group in the non-Indigenous population). Quebec Native Women Inc. (QNW) defends the interests of Indigenous women, their families and their communities throughout Quebec and has been working directly with Indigenous youth since 2003. As part of their work they also raise awareness about and confront issues that have historically and continue to have an impact on Indigenous women’s lives in Canada.

Equitas’ has been collaborating with QNW for a number of years, providing tools and resources to support young women’s leadership and to create dialogue between youth on important issues such as understanding identity, preventing violence and bullying, confronting discrimination and increasing youth participation in organizational decision-making. Last year, after a Speaking Rights training, QNW integrated tools and learning to do a needs validation with women and girls to better understand how they have experienced violence and intimidation in their communities. QNW staff expressed that they Speaking Rights approach and tools were really helpful as they created spaces for honest and open conversations with youth around bullying and built greater understanding of the issue. In response, QNW launched a new Bullying Prevention Project based on traditional Indigenous methods of conflict resolution. They aim to close the gap in tools and resources available for Indigenous youth, families and support workers. Equitas was invited to be part of a newly created Advisory Group to help collaborate on the improvement of the living conditions for Indigenous youth.

This year, QNW also identified a need to turn towards their traditions and ensure the inclusion of LGBTQ/two-spirted Indigenous peoples. As part of a new youth-led initiative, in partnership with Equitas, QNW is working to create more inclusive spaces through an anti-discrimination policy for their organizations and launch an awareness-raising campaign across the province.

“By offering a secure space where members of the LGBTQ/Two-spirited community could share their experiences and examples of best practices, we became a driving force for change in public opinion and within the Aboriginal community regarding sexual minorities. Through the promotion of environments that are more inclusive and secure we will better insure the security, integrity and dignity of all our people.” Program Manager, Quebec