Manitoba First Nations group launches kit to help with 'culture shock' transitioning to city
A group representing southern Manitoba First Nations is launching a toolkit to make navigating urban life easier and safer for Indigenous women and girls who move to cities from small communities.
"I think it's a culture shock, right?" said Pamela Davis, coordinator of the women's protection program with the Southern Chiefs Organization. The group introduced the toolkits at a ceremony on Friday in Winnipeg.
"You come from a community that's smaller, where you know a lot of the people that live there, and then you come to somewhere like Winnipeg, where there's hundreds of thousands of community members," she said.
"It's definitely a culture shock and it might be a little bit of a hard time transitioning, making that transition to life in the city."
The toolkit includes four booklets: one with a general safety plan, one for youth, one for women leaving incarceration and one resource guide and support list.
The booklets include information ranging from tips on how to find an apartment or a doctor to identifying warning signs of youth sexual exploitation, luring or gang involvement.
It also includes good-to-know but sometimes hard-to-find basics like how much bus fare is this year or what your rights are if stopped by police.
"It has all those details, little tiny bits of information that somebody might not be able to find otherwise. Some people don't have access to the internet, some people don't have access to those types of things," Davis said.
"At least if they go to a support resource centre like Ma Mawi or Ka Ni Kanichihk, they could use our toolkit and they could say, this is information, you can take this, and it'll provide them that little extra bit of support that they may need."
The toolkits will be distributed to 33 First Nations represented by the Southern Chiefs Organization, Davis said, and sent by email to anyone who signs up for them.
They will be made available electronically on the organization's website.