First Nation Opens Family-Friendly Shelter | A Place to Call Home
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(Music plays)
(Visual: Scenic view of forest, trees in the foreground, looking out over water)

(Visual: In Fall 2017, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Indian Reserve in Ontario began construction on a shelter for survivors of domestic violence)

(Visual: The shelter will serve residents of their own and surrounding communities)

(Visual: The shelter will help them in their journey…)

(Visual: Car drives past the wooden “Welcome to Wiikwemkoong” sign beside the road)

Duke: Family is the cornerstone of what makes our community operate.

(Visual: View passing by, driving on road, of houses in community.)
(Visual: Duke Peltier, sitting in the Wiikwemkoong Band Office, in a wood panelled room, interview.)

Duke: Togetherness is something that each of the families here in our community have maintained uh, throughout uh… up to this day.

(Visual: Duke Peltier
Ogimaa (Chief) of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory)

(Visual: Exterior of Wiikwemkoong Band Office building, area lined with bare winter trees, bright green grass in front of building.)

Duke: And that’s one of the things that we continue to- to nurture.

(Visual: Person walking up to front door of Wiikwemkoong Band Office building.)

Mary Pheasant: Hopefully this place will help plant a lot of seeds in people’s minds.

(Visual: Mary Pheasant outside, standing in front of water, interview.)

Visual: Mary Pheasant
Shelter Manager)

Mary Pheasant: So- and that desire. To know that somebody cares, sometimes that’s all that somebody needs, is to know that somebody cares, and that’ll make a big difference in their life.

(Visual: Empty grassy field, sign for the Wiikwemkoong Shelter for Victims of Violence.)

Mary Jo Wabano: Providing that safe place where they can reconnect with self, reconnect with their children.

(Visual: Mary Jo Wabano, sitting in front of stack of wood, interview.)

(Visual:Mary Jo Wabano
Health Services Director)

Mary Jo Wabano: And then once they exit the facility and go back to their home, that they’re reconnecting with their family again.

(Visual: Cars driving on road past wooden Wiikwemkoong welcome sign, trees showing fall colours, houses visible through trees.)

Mary Jo Wabano: Holistic well being is not just the focus on the woman and the child, it’s the focus on that man also.

(Visual: Kids playing in fenced in field)
(Visual: View passing by, driving past rows of houses, cars parked in front)

Mary Jo Wabano: And again, now we know men are in the position where they may need that place to go with their children.

(Visual: Mary Jo Wabano and Mary Pheasant stand in grassy field near Wiikwemkoong Shelter for Victims of Violence sign.)

Mary Jo Wabano: We have been approved for 13 bedrooms, with a maximum capacity of 17 individuals.

(Visual: Mary Jo Wabano and Mary Pheasant walk in field near Wiikwemkoong Shelter for Victims of Violence sign, talking to each other.)

Mary Jo Wabano: In one wing we will be able to support the youth, so we’ve separated the youth component.

(Visual: Mary Jo Wabano, sitting in front of stacks of logs, interview.)

Mary Jo Wabano: And the opposite wing will be designated for families.

(Visual: Mary Jo Wabano and Mary Pheasant walk in grassy field near Wiikwemkoong Shelter for Victims of Violence sign, talking to each other.)
(Visual: Mary Pheasant outside, in front of water, interview.)

Mary Pheasant: In using our culture, and our philosophies, and our ceremonies, and our ways of restoring, revitalizing, our way of being with a new connection to the land.

(Visual: Shots of a beautiful sculpture depicting birds in flight.)
(Visual: Shots of Indigenous art hanging on wall, sculpture)
(Visual: Duke Peltier, sitting in the Wiikwemkoong Band Office, in a wood panelled room, interview.)

Duke: Just where the very placement of the facility and the selection of the site, you’re gonna be seeing a- a sunrise come over the- the community, over the lake. And that’s what we’re looking to offer to those that are seeking a safe environment.

(Visual: Mary Pheasant and Mary Jo Wabano look over future site of shelter, talking to each other, gesturing at the site in grassy field.)

Duke: There’s- there’s- it’s gonna be a new day. And we’re gonna give them that new day.

(Visual: Scenic shots of trees in foreground, looking out over the water, time lapse, clouds race overhead.)

(Music plays)
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January 19, 2018

Families welcome at domestic violence shelter

Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, located on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, will soon be providing a unique approach to help survivors of domestic violence.

The First Nation is developing a gender-inclusive shelter for members of the community and surrounding areas that will support individuals and entire family units. The shelter will provide a safe, supportive environment for survivors of domestic violence as they begin to strengthen or rebuild their lives.

“Family is the cornerstone of our community,” says Duke Peltier, Chief of Wiikwemkoong.

Shelter manager Mary Pheasant explains that the shelter will draw heavily on Indigenous culture. The approach, she says, “ [uses] our philosophies and our ceremonies and our ways of restoring and revitalizing our ways of being.”

The facility will have 13 bedrooms and the ability to support up to 17 individuals. Construction should be complete by spring 2019.

Wiikwemkoong was chosen as 1 of 5 recipients of funding through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Shelter Enhancement Program.

The remaining 4 shelters will be built in Lake Babine in British Columbia, Black Lake in Saskatchewan, Nisichawayasihk in Manitoba and Kawawachikamach in Quebec.

 See what actions we are taking in response to COVID-19.