Sixteen women in Yellowknife have been chosen to participate in a pilot project for a women’s healing camp organized by the Yellowknife Women’s Society.
The healing camp, located in Fort Smith’s Salt River Metis Village, will start its first two night, three day session on Sunday, January 13th. The second session will start on Tuesday, January 15th. Each session will host eight vulnerable women who are already using services at the Yellowknife Women’s Society.
Bree Denning, the executive director of the society, told CKLB: “We are prioritizing women who use our shelter services as well as women who are in our Housing First Program… We serve a lot of women who have very long histories of trauma and are very marginalized within other systems. We wanted to target the women that we see the most often for services because of that marginalization.”
The role of facilitator at the healing camp was given to Shannon Moroney, an author, counsellor, and public speaker from Toronto. Known for her bestselling memoir, Through the Glass, Moroney leads workshops on trauma, forgiveness and restorative justice, leaning on her own personal experiences.
Despite being a non-Indigenous woman from the South, Moroney is right for the job according to Denning.
Denning said, “It was two years ago, April 2016, that I first met Shannon and her then business partner Katie… I walked into the room and I saw two white women from big cities from the very south of Canada, and I thought, ‘How is this gonna connect?’ But their own ability to share their own personal journey… they both come from places where they experienced very terrible things… and came through it and are now able to share what they’ve learned and help other women heal. So hearing about the camps that they’d run — and women’s reactions as well as the elders’ reactions to their teachings — really changed my mind and convinced me that this would be a good fit for the women that we serve.”
Moroney and her former business partner, Katie Hutchison, had previously conducted workshops for women in the Inuvialuit region. Denning says that Moroney comes highly recommended by the women who took part in her workshops.
The Yellowknife Women’s Society received $60,000 from the NWT On The Land Collaborative to fund the healing camp pilot. Denning says the money is being used to fund location, facilitator, food, and supply costs.
Right now, both sessions — 16 spots in total — are full. Denning says that interested women can put their names on a waitlist in case more spots open up.