By Shannon Davis, Community Wellness Coordinator

On February 11, 2011, the Métis Nation of Ontario Health and Wellness Branch in Renfrew held a workshop on the prevention of violence and on the healing process. Eleven people participated in the workshop.

A medicine wheel was used to generate answers on how violence impacts individuals, families and society as a whole. Participants discussed how violence affects people from emotional, physical, spiritual and mental perspectives. The participants shared their thoughts on what their community needs to help in the prevent violence.

The group made the following recommendations:

  • build an emergency safety house in Renfrew, as the majority of the shelters are 45 minutes to 1 hour away;
  • educate people on the resources available to the public that assist in the prevention of violence;
  • hold weekly sharing circles for women and a separate one for men to help in alleviating stress;
  • speak with local officials to facilitate the offering of anger management courses in Renfrew;
  • speak to parents about the dangers of exposing their children to violence in the media and on videogames;
  • explain the importance of age appropriate games, movies and television shows to parents;
  • develop a community safety plan, so, individuals have guidelines they can follow to keep themselves safe and offer support to a loved one who is experiencing violence.

The participants also developed a healing plan for people that have been exposed to violence. The healing plan included a weekly sharing circle, individual and family counselling and substance abuse counselling if needed. To maintain a positive outlook the healing plan also suggests eating healthy, participating in positive social relationships and partaking in positive leisure activities.

The workshop was a success and the organizers and participants would like to thank Monica Owl for making her green chilli dish.