ONA recieves funding for sexual assault response services

·1 min read

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is putting $500,000 from the Ending Violence Association of BC towards sexual assault response service programs over the next three years.

The acquisition of the funding, announced by the ONA Nov. 20, is set to build on the work already carried out by the ONA’s “You Empowered and Strong” (YES) program. The program supports Syilx Okanagan Nation individuals, families and communities dealing with the impacts of trauma caused by violence including sexual assault and human trafficking.

The funding is in line with the 231 outlying calls to justice coming out of the The Final Report on the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, released in 2019, which includes the development of “self-determined and Indigenous-led solutions and services.”

The YES program was launched after the ONA Wellness Committee identified needs to address family violence in the Okanagan Nation in 2015. In July 2019, the ONA Chiefs Executive Council passed a Tribal Council Resolution to support the calls to justice out of the Final Report and the continuation of the YES program. Each community determines how to provide the services the YES program offers baed on individual community needs.

“The roots of violence toward Syilx women and girls can be traced back to the trauma and systemic racism that communities have experienced over years of colonization. The ONA remains committed to ensuring that Syilx individuals and families across the Nation have proper support, safety and healing,” said Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Chairman. “Through such initiatives as this we are taking decisive action to provide access to community-drive, culturally appropriate and effective services. This work must continue.”

Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle