Supports to Indigenous women leaving Correctional Institutions

IAAW has an agreement with Corrections Canada to provide a female cultural advisor as part of the Women’s Self Management Program offered through Edmonton Parole.

IAAW team also encourages and advocates for Aboriginal women in Edmonton, as well as providing guidance, alternative resources and services. There are a few primary aims in which IAAW hopes to achieve:

  • The need for resiliency, success, support, and reinforcement of the idea that women can be the catalyst to inspire change or perspectives in a community is one of the primary aims for Aboriginal women leaving correctional institutions.
  • The second aim is to provide the perspectives of Social Justice within a larger multicultural community, and defeating negative sterotypes by helping to provide safe spaces for individual growth and re-interactional learning.

Aboriginal Self-Management Program Information
The program offers a 12-week program for Women entering the community, after being released from the Edmonton Institution for Women. The program is a condition of release.

Activities Undertaken:
Develop a service plan based on each participant’s unique needs (the Elder contributes to a larger plan led by a facilitator)

Host a Woman’s Circle to connect with women and build/enhance the relationship with the participants. The group meets once a week for 12 weeks.

Provide path-finding assistance for women to help them transition to life after incarceration. The women are typically incarcerated from two to eight years.

Provide spiritual and cultural teachings to participants

Work with community organizations to better meet the needs of Indigenous women

Working with courts to get visitation with Children. Attend the supervised visits.

Attend Parole hearings, as a support person in the community.

Meeting with Judicator of Residential Schools

It is sometimes a hard sell to the women, because most have taken the program several times. The difference is that they have taken the program while incarcerated, and now they are in the community and may have barriers. The teachings are not just theory, they must apply what they have been taught. Repetition is the key.  Eventually the teachings make sense and the participants begin to incorporate what they learnt into their lives.