International Womens Day2
(Left-right) MNO Credit River Métis Council
Treasurer Darlene Lent and President Karen
Derocher. Click here for larger picture.

On March 8, 2017, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Credit River Métis Council (CRMC) President Karen Derocher and Treasurer Darlene Lent, opened up the sold out International Women’s Day event at Sagan Convention Centre and Banquet Hall in Mississauga. The event was hosted by the Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse (PCAWA). The MNO is a proud partner of PCAWA in Brampton. It was an evening of celebrating women’s achievements and declaring bold actions that will drive change and end violence against women. Several local community agencies, female entrepreneurs and survivors attended the event and were asked to #BeBoldForChange.

The event began with a chance to network with other individuals and service providers who had community tables set up to offer information on their services. After a delicious fusion buffet dinner, emcees Gajani Jayalingam from Newcomer Centre of Peel and Tanisha Bryan from Family Life Resource Centre introduced President Derocher and Treasurer Lent to the excited crowd with offerings of tobacco. President Derocher shared a beautiful prayer asking the Creator to provide strength and comfort when remembering all the women in our lives who are impacted by violence. Treasurer Lent spoke on behalf of MNO CRMC Senator Bill Morrison and in her remarks acknowledged the importance of the land to Métis people. Treasurer Lent then explained the significance of smudging and extended an invitation to anyone who would like to participate.

The first participant was Paula Lam the PCAWA Coordinator. After the beautiful smell of sage filled the room, many more participants came forward and wanted to smudge. Many young children took interest in the ceremony and were very pleased to learn about Métis culture. Treasurer Lent and President Derocher took time with each individual to educate them on sacred medicines and their meanings.

“I was very excited about the interest in our smudging ceremony and was delighted that the children present were very interested and wanted to learn more about our cultural smudging ceremony,” said Treasurer Lent.

“Overall the event was truly powerful. To see the bravery of the survivors who shared their journey was beautiful. Many of the survivors are now entrepreneurs or helping others on their path. It was great to see the diversity of the survivors and truly inspiring to see the different mediums in which they chose to share their stories,” said Brampton MNO Métis Family Wellbeing Coordinator Catherine Corbett.

“Darlene and I really enjoyed the evening. It was tough to hear the tragic stories but very inspiring to see the women so supportive and caring about each other. Knowing that there is help available means so much and makes healing and recovery feel possible,” said President Derocher.

Corbette and the MNO Community Wellness Coordinator Rose Colacci-Fines provided a slide show for the event as well as Métis colouring pages and crayons for the children. Corbett and Colacci-Fines also held workshops to create seven healing blankets for the brave survivors who shared their stories and the performers who kept everyone entertained. The healing blankets were offered to empower the women and let them see the strength within themselves. At the end of the night Corbett and Colacci-Fines received an outpouring of love from the recipients of the blankets and other attendees even asked if they could purchase some.

The event concluded with President Derocher sharing a closing prayer. The audience was very respectful and welcoming to Métis culture. Honouring women is part of Métis culture. The MNO CRMC and Brampton Healing and Wellness staff’s influence during the International Women’s Day event reminded all the attendees that they are important, cared for and loved within the Métis Nation. They look forward to collaborating with PCAWA in the future.

Posted: May 12, 2017