Montreal Native Women's Shelter raises more than $60,000 for housing and pediatric clinic

·2 min read
The Native Women's Shelter of Montreal held its eighth annual spirit walk in Mount Royal Park on Saturday. (CBC/Rowan Kennedy - image credit)
The Native Women's Shelter of Montreal held its eighth annual spirit walk in Mount Royal Park on Saturday. (CBC/Rowan Kennedy - image credit)

The Native Women's Shelter of Montreal held its annual spirit walk on Saturday, raising more than $60,000 in donations by the afternoon, according to the organization.

The eighth annual spirit walk began at the gazebo in Montreal's Mount Royal Park before the crowd began their walk up the mountain.

Funds raised at the event will go toward a transitional housing project set to open in February and a social pediatric clinic, according to Nakuset, executive director of the shelter.

"When there's a cry for help it's always the community of Montreal that shows up first," Nakuset said just before the walk up the mountain began.

CBC/Rowan Kennedy
CBC/Rowan Kennedy

Miyoskamin, the transition house, will provide 23 units for Indigenous women and their children. The Saralikitaaq Social Pediatric Centre will be in the same building and provide families access to health and social services.

It will be located in Little Burgundy at an old bath house by Oscar Peterson Park.

The new space will also provide support for families with children in youth protection, Nakuset said.

"We need a family lawyer because a lot of children get into youth protection, and it's really difficult to get them out," she said.

"A lot of times when a kid is taken to youth protection, it can take up to 10 to 13 years — if you're lucky —  to get them back."

The rest of the funding for the project is coming from the city of Montreal and the province.

The funds that are raised through their annual spirit walk each spring usually goes toward a healing retreat for women, but luckily the centre was able to secure that funding through other means, Nakuset said.

Ahonwakerane Stacey came from the Kahnawake First Nations reserve to speak at the Mordecai Richler gazebo before the crowd began their walk.

CBC/Rowan Kennedy
CBC/Rowan Kennedy

"I was asked to give words of encouragement for all the people here today," he said, adding that it was a privilege to be invited to celebrate all the women coming together.

"It's to acknowledge all walks of life, and to encourage the good work [the natural world] does day in and day out," he said.

Pheroz Austin came with his son Rushad on Saturday, and often volunteers to support the centre.

CBC/Rowan Kennedy
CBC/Rowan Kennedy

"There are many calls to action. I think we as settlers, as immigrants to this country, people who live here and a good deal of prosperity need to give me back somehow," he said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting