Yukon Indigenous women's groups get boost in funding
'Right now, our staff don't have benefits so that is something we can work toward'
Three Yukon Indigenous women's organizations are getting new money for planning, training and development
Maryam Monsef, Canada's minister of status of women, was in Whitehorse to make the announcement on Tuesday.
The Yukon and federal governments will contribute just over $1.6 million over three years to the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle, the Liard Aboriginal Women's Society, and the Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council.
Currently, the Yukon government provides $759,000 in operational funding over three years to the three organizations. Now, Status of Women Canada will contribute another $867,500 over three years.
Jeanie Dendys, Yukon's minister responsible for the Women's Directorate, says it's important to support Indigenous women's groups.
"Violence against women in the Yukon is three times higher than the rest of Canada, and for Indigenous women, it's even three times higher ... that's a statistic and reality we want to change," said Dendys.
Adeline Webber is the executive elder for the Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council.
She has been with the organization for 40 years advocating on behalf of Yukon Indigenous women. She says the new funding will be good for staff.
"Right now, our staff don't have benefits so that is something we can work toward," Webber said.
Ann Maje Raider, executive director of Liard Aboriginal Women's Society, says her organization struggles with funding to make ends meet.
"We are wanting to use some of the funding to look for a centre. I swear, we have a trailer in Watson Lake that we paid five times over and it only has room for the three of us," said Maje Raider.
All three organizations say the new funding will help build capacity, and better support and empower Indigenous women in Yukon.
"What we plan to do is train, because we have capacity issues — so we want to bring someone on to train them, to shadow, because hey, we are not going to be there forever, right? Maje Raider said.
"So we need young people to come in, and we need young people to learn of the organization."