The Kermode Friendship Society is one of five B.C. organizations to receive money from the Missing and Murdered Commemorative Fund. The $200,000 will be used to lead a project aimed at creating ‘long-term change’ to protect the lives of Indigenous women and girls and provide resources for families.
“Not only are we commemorating this, but we also want to work together to ensure that our families are getting healthier. Now we have an injection of some new money that will help us do that, and we’re very excited,” says Cal Albright, KFS executive director.
The project will include the creation of a MMIWG Northwest committee to collectively work together on programs, share resources and develop long-term strategies. It would include members from several Indigenous groups, including two Friendship Centres, Prince Rupert Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society, Nisga’a Village of Gitwinksihlkw and the recently created Tears to Hope Society.
This project will support Indigenous women and girls, as well as two-spirited, lesbian, gay bisexual trans/sexual, queer and asexual people.
“There is a lot of at-risk behaviour with people who are traumatized, and with families whose own people have gone missing. We think we could be more supportive with this process,” Albright says. “That’s that real goal, is to set up resources people can use, and understand what at-risk behaviour is like.”
The centre is currently looking for an executive director to train and provide clinical support to KFS frontline workers, develop the Northwest committee, and oversee various commemorative activities to raise awareness.
The project has enough funding for 18 months and will be contributing to the next Tears to Hope run, along with establishing a commemorative MMIWG memorial near Terrace.