Connections between youth engagement in cultural practices and eliminating gender-based violence

the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) has released a report demonstrating the connections between youth engagement in cultural rights-of-passage ceremonies and eliminating gender-based violence.

Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ are 6 times more likely to experience violence in their lifetime.

This research found that youth that take part in traditional practices helps restore a sense of identity and self-worth, fostering community respect and belonging are all key in preventing gender-based violence.

“Our communities know how to prevent violence. They hold knowledge and practices that are essential for Indigenous people to lead safe and healthy lives,” says OFIFC Executive Director, Sylvia Maracle. “Each community brings perspectives relevant to them, and by involving youth, these lessons will live on and can be used to envision and implement projects moving forward. Indigenous communities must actively contribute to gender-based violence prevention projects in consistent and long-term ways in order to foster trust and acceptance.”

The report states the importance of restoration of Indigenous relationships, the implementation of Indigenous teachings and cultural practices, and strengthening long-term community-driven research with existing programs and initiatives.

Indigenous cultural practices make it possible to live well on the land, achieve social cohesion within the community, and engage in mutually respectful relationships with all.  Through ceremony at times of transition, youth are invited into these practices, becoming personally and collectively responsible for upholding them.

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres shares this report in hope that it can benefit Indigenous communities and non-indigenous allies working towards ending gender-based violence.