Cultivating Safe Spaces: A Program Theory Overview and Formative Evaluation

Naqsmist

Naqsmist is an Indigenous-led organization with roots in the Syilx and Secwepemc Nations.

In 2019, following the release of The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Elaine Alec was tasked with a monumental undertaking. The government of British Columbia was instructed by Indigenous leadership to create a B.C.-based action plan with input from Indigenous communities in the province. Elaine’s growing consulting company was awarded the contract to lead the engagement sessions on behalf of the province with Elaine as the lead facilitator. She was already managing the pressures of a growing business and was now thinking about how to lead conversations on a subject that was raw with emotions and trauma. As a syilx woman and Knowledge Keeper, Elaine turned to the teachings she grew up with from her Elders within the syilx nation to create a framework for safe, trauma-informed and decolonized dialogue.

Using the principles of Enowkinwixw, a syilx governance methodology, Elaine created Cultivating Safe Spaces (CSS) to use in the engagement sessions across the province. While the discussions around such a devastating topic were not easy, the framework provided the environment needed to have conversations with care and humanness, and the work resulted in A Path Forward: Priorities and Early Strategies for B.C., recommendations and strategies to address violence against MMIWGLGBTQQIA+ in B.C.

To learn more about this research project and its findings, view the entire body of work here:

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