Two new women's shelters to be built in Eeyou Istchee
'We are happy that this is coming into fruition, where women can have a safe place'
Two new women's shelters will be built in Eeyou Istchee, the Cree territory in northern Québec.
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come and Cree Health Board Chairperson Bella Moses Petawabano signed an agreement for the construction of the shelters at this week's annual general assembly of the Cree Nation Government in Oujé-Bougoumou, northern Québec.
"We are happy that this is coming into fruition, where women can have a safe place for themselves and their children," said Virginia Wabano, president of the Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association.
"But we look at this as only a temporary measure where we can all grow as a nation, and one day, the shelters may not be needed."
Each facility will have 18 beds, offering rooms as well as counselling and support services for women and their children escaping domestic abuse.
Wabano says construction will start immediately.
The shelters will be built in Waskaganish and Waswanipi, each with a population of about 2,000. The shelters will also serve smaller surrounding communities.
The Waskaganish shelter will primarily serve the coastal Cree communities (Whapmagoostui, Chisasibi, Wemindji, Waskaganish, Eastmain) while the Waswanipi shelter will serve inland communities (Waswanipi, Oujé-Bougoumou, Mistissini and Nemaska).
The shelters are expected to open in the spring of 2016