Mi'kmaq confederacy receives federal, provincial funding to continue justice programs
'It will ensure our Indigenous people has access to cultural supports to help with their healing'
The Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. is receiving more funding from Ottawa and the province to continue its community-based justice programs.
The confederacy and federal and provincial governments have reached a five-year funding agreement worth $600,000 to continue providing support for defendants as well as victims, families and members in the Indigenous community.
Lori St. Onge, the director of Indigenous justice with the confederacy, says the funding will "ensure our Indigenous people has access to cultural supports to help with their healing."
"It's really to provide our clients … the resources to complete their conditions and don't set them up to fail — helping them navigate them through the criminal justice system," she told Mainstreet P.E.I.
Many of the factors contributing to Indigenous peoples' addictions, mental health issues, abandonment and lack of opportunities stem from residential schools, St. Onge said.
She said the government-funded programs will continue to help and educate people about those systemic factors.
"It's really looking at those systemic factors, weaving it through the generations to look at why is this individual standing here in front a judge today and how can we start helping that individual heal," she said.
'What excites us is that it works'
St. Onge said the programs have already led to positive change on P.E.I.
"What excites us is that it works," she said.
"Its a way for a person to step up and say 'I've done wrong, I'm accepting responsibility and here's how I'm going to make it right.'"
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With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.