P.A. hosts wellness and awareness conference

By Michael Joel-Hansen
January 31, 2019 - 4:46pm Updated: January 31, 2019 - 5:30pm

The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) has been talking about missing and murdered Indigenous peoples this week.

The organization has been hosting a conference in Prince Albert entitled Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Wellness and Awareness Week.

The conference has been focusing on a variety of issues ranging from health, with lots of focus on spiritual and traditional healing, to safety.

Violet Naytowhow, works with the PAGC on health and social development and has been attending the conference all week. She explained the conference presents a unique opportunity for people who are interested in traditional healing practices.

“It’s very rare that you get this many healers together, with the pipe ceremony and the presenters, it’s like a best variety of people,” she said.

Naytowhow, who lives in P.A. said connecting with culture can help people who are dealing with trauma which comes from dealing with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls along with residential schools.

Naytowhow herself has turned to traditional ways to help deal with past traumas.

“I’ve healed in this way through the culture processes, and elders and sweats,” she said.

Along with talking about traditional forms of healing a speaker from Alberta spoke about what parents can do to protect their children.

“You can stop them [kids] from going out, so you should know where they are, get them to send pictures of themselves,” said Naytowhow.

The speakers as well recommended getting pictures of physical locations. Naytowhow said she felt this specific speaker had a very specific message.  

“More communication, of what they’re doing and how their feeling and what going on with them,” she said.

During lunch people at the meeting had the chance to hear from Collleen Whitedeer. Whitedeer spoke about her experience being the sister of missing Indigenous man and the importance of not forgetting there are many missing and murdered Indigenous men, which also affects communities.

The conference brought out a diverse crowd as people came from many communities to take part and hear from the speakers.

“I know there’s people from James Smith, people from Little Red, Sturgeon Lake, Wahpeton, people from P.A. too,” she said.

 The conference started on Monday and will be wrapping up Thursday.


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