Creating safe spaces: 2 NWT organizations get $1 million in fed aid

The Arctic Indigenous Wellness camp. (Photo courtesy of D'Hont)

Over $1 million in federal funding is coming to help two organizations combat homelessness and gender-based violence in the territory.

The Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation (AIWF) will receive $ 557,880 for its work on expanding its administrative and governance policies. The Northern Mosaic Network (NMN) is set to receive $443,260 for its work on creating regional advisors in the territory.

“A lot of people have recognized that they’re living in spaces where people have the wrong idea about 2SLGBTQQIA+ people,” says Chelsea Thacker NMN’s executive director.

With this money, the goal is to hire residents from across the territory to serve as regional ambassadors to help facilitate workshops in neighbouring communities.

This advisory council will be responsible for creating distinct regional zones to discuss key issues affecting 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

Thacker says one of the biggest things youth have been asking for is a safe place to gather.

“They just want to be able to gather as a community or even find community in the places that they live,” they say, “but with smaller populations, it’s hard.”

Some of the barriers to seeking help are found in stereotypes, homophobia, lack of representation in media and colonization.

As a territorial election approaches, Thacker says, members of NMN will be reaching out to leadership to ensure priorities for 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are met.

Prioritizing holistic healing

Thomsen D’Hont is the vice chair of the AIWF.

He says this funding will help create new procedures and policies to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. That includes more traditional counsellors and trauma-informed care on-site.

Operating within a western system that prioritizes things like drugs and hard evaluations makes receiving holistic and traditional care difficult, he says.

“There’s a lot of need in this area and I think this type of funding can make some huge inroads to help organizations address this,” he adds.

A long-term goal, he says is to have a health centre, across the Stanton Territorial Hospital to bring holistic healing to more residents in need.

About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. Mariah is excited to begin her journey and career in Yellowknife, NWT, and get involved with the community. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at or call 867-766-2552 Ext 108