The Bird Sessions / The Pîyesîs Sessions
Throughout its history, the Brenda Strafford Centre has not addressed the complexity of violence within diverse cultures. As developed in the Centre’s 2019-2024 strategic plan, a new goal of the Centre is to increase the inclusiveness of our service provision. First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women currently account for 24% of our residents despite only making up 3.4% of Alberta’s population. Indigenous women are more likely to experience interpersonal violence than non-Indigenous women. Indigenous women are also more likely to experience injuries from violence.
The violence that Indigenous women face cannot be understood in solidarity. Indigenous peoples’ interpersonal experiences of violence must be understood in context with the violence that has been forced upon them throughout Canada’s history including loss of land, language and culture, criminalization of traditions and spirituality, the residential school system, marginalization, child apprehension, forced poverty and limited access to basic needs continues to impact Indigenous families across the country. The Brenda Strafford Centre aims to respond to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit residents that have experienced violence by offering Indigenous focused, culturally and healing supportive programming accessible to all residents of the Centre. Despite focusing on the complex needs of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit residents, the Brenda Strafford Centre truly believes The Bird Sessions / The Pîyesîs Sessions would positively impact all Centre residents.
The Brenda Strafford Centre would like to propose an Indigenous Programming Series called The Bird Sessions / The Pîyesîs Sessions to be included in our supportive services and program offerings.
Series to Include:
• Beading Class (One Session a Week for Four Weeks)
• Skirt-Making Class (One Session a Week for Four Weeks)
• Medicine Picking (Day Trip with Transportation)
• Pow Wow (Day Trip with Transportation)
• Blanket Exercise
• Indigenous Feast with Elder
• Improved circle of support and resources to stop the cycle of violence
• Improved culturally relevant opportunities for healing from trauma
• Increased awareness of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit cultures, history and legacies
• Stronger feelings of community
• Stronger sense of identity
• Increased opportunities to actively learn and engage in reconciliation and resurgence efforts
Who Will it Benefit?
The Bird Sessions / The Pîyesîs Sessions will benefit the women and the children at the Centre, future generations, and the greater community.
Primarily the focus is on meeting the diverse and complex needs of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit residents which account for on average 24% of our clientele (approximately 35 women and 42 children served in 2018). The Bird Sessions / The Pîyesîs Sessions will benefit First Nations, Metis, and Inuit residents by providing culturally relevant avenues for healing and support such as engagements with Indigenous Elders. Another proposed benefit to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit residents is the opportunity to build a stronger sense of community and connection within their resurging complex cultures and traditions that have been damaged throughout Canadian history.
The Brenda Strafford Centre believes that this programming will also have tremendous positive impacts for clientele that identify as non-Indigenous though increased opportunities for learning and understanding First Nations, Metis, and Inuit cultures and history and to engage in reconciliation efforts.
As this program works in conjunction with other supportive services such as trauma-informed counselling, second stage and progressive supportive housing, and other basic need and social supports to stop the intergenerational cycle of abuse, this programming will also benefit family members, future generations, and the community in which we live.