July 30 2020
Message from The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto,
Executive Director and The Board of Directors
NWRCT has recognized and heard the many concerns from community regarding our virtual ceremony.
First, it is important that we take a moment to verbalize that we acknowledge, recognize and deeply respect all traditions and protocols from across Turtle Island; we recognize all agencies and territories that offer access and traditional supports. We are happy to know community has several options and areas to attend and connect to culture and Elders/Healers/Knowledge Keepers.
NWRCT takes a flexible approach to healing and wellness and to its access to Healers and ceremony. We serve some of the most vulnerable community members including victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. In order to ensure the right to ceremony and access we have decreased the barriers by operating from a flexible lens. NWRCT’S work is deeply rooted in the connections it has with community and must continue to serve their needs, mental/physical/spiritual/emotional. We have consulted and discussed at length the means, importance and process of ceremony in these unusual times and our Healers continue to do the work to provide support to those who seek it.
The virtual ceremonies that we offer are not open; they are private sessions subject to pre registration. There is discussion at the beginning around safety, confidentiality, and comfort for all participants.
While the city is embarking on stage 3, NWRCT is not. NWRCT has and continues to take its own measures for safety when considering the gathering of staff, clients, Healers and community. This has placed us behind the current city allowances and limits.
The Traditional Healers we work with are trusted, loved and respected; they have done their work to carry their teachings, gifts and ceremonies. They continue to do the work required and it is ongoing before making decisions on delivering services. Native Women’s Resource Centre 191 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 2E5 Tel: 416-963-9963 Fax: 416-963-9573 www.nwrct.ca
Nobody could have predicted the pandemic or the length of time COVID would effect our lives and this has greatly affected the operations of NWRCT. We have moved to offer what we view as important connections. To some this opportunity is critical and important. We took time away from offering access in hopes we would return soon. Unfortunately, it was not an option and thus adjustments for access were necessary, we could not disappear from those who were seeking this specific support and connection and maintaining our efforts were important measures for the centre.
We respect it may not lay in the values of some or the traditional protocols of others and we respect all views and approaches, yet NWRCT must continue to offer safe and inclusive access. NWRCT must and will continue to adjust to the environments of our society and our surroundings.
The work of NWRCT is unique and important, there may be times when we are misunderstood but we continue to support women who are vulnerable and want to feel connected with each other and with ceremony.
NWRCT will be adjusting the in person access to the centre in the future and we look forward to our in person ceremonies resuming once again.
We thank you for your understanding and for allowing space to operate as we continue to offer access to those who choose to attend in such a way.
Thank you, Miigwetch,