We Dance for Life (Pima’tisowin e’ mimtotaman)

Ongoing settler colonialism and a continuation of genocidal acts towards Indigenous people has resulted in an epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+. The multigenerational effects of colonial violence against Indigenous people are known and well-documented in Canada, including legislation in the Indian Act, which was used as a significant tool of genocide, imprisonment of children in residential schooling, high rates of child apprehension, police indifference and inaction, and ongoing public indifference based on racist assumptions and stereotypes about Indigenous peoples and their communities.

We Dance for Life (Pima’tisowin e’ mimtotaman) is based on decolonial relations of collective healing and care that formed through mutual efforts to honour the spirits of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ2S+ (MMIWGT2S+) loved ones. Through land- and art-based healing gatherings, the goal is to create safer spaces for decolonial, multi-generational trauma informed healing, building networks of love and resistance that honour the spirits of our loved ones and all our relations.

YWCA Edmonton was honoured to be the host of the We Dance for Life Western Regional Gatherings at Camp Yowochas on the tranquil shores of Lake Wabamun. In 2021, we were able to provide support by hosting two gatherings to provide healing spaces for MMIWGT2S+ families who have not had the opportunity to heal, share or connect with other families. Our goal is to create safer spaces for Indigenous-led, trauma-informed processes to honour the spirits of MMIWGT2S+ loved ones.

Knowing the importance of creating safe spaces for healing and recovery after violent trauma, YWCA Edmonton will continue to work tirelessly to facilitate a healing space for victims of violence to gather, regardless of where they are on their healing journey. Together, We Dance for Life as we help relations move forward to heal with one another for youth and children now and in generations to come.

YWCA Edmonton is honoured to have renowned Indigenous journalist Brandi Morin as our Keynote Speaker at this year’s Rose Breakfast to shed more light on the MMIWG2S+ crisis. Brandi Morin is an award-winning Cree/Iroquois/French journalist from Treaty 6 near Edmonton, Alberta. She is one of Canada’s leading journalistic voices on Indigenous issues, and has had her stories appear in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian and the Toronto Star. Her work on the urgent crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two- Spirit people (MMIWG2S+) is ground-breaking. Brandi is also a MMIWG2S+ survivor.