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Violence against Aboriginal women has been a problem in our communities for too long. It’s time for communities to acknowledge that it must stop. Aboriginal men across Ontario have recognized their responsibility in ending this violence and have committed to supporting communities in encouraging men and youth to speak up against violence towards Aboriginal women.

Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin was created to provide an opportunity for communities to help Aboriginal men and youth understand the causes of violence against women and girls and to support them in joining together to end the violence. It’s designed to offer Aboriginal men and youth a safe place to learn their roles and responsibilities when it comes to ending violence against Aboriginal young girls and women. It realizes the challenges youth and men face and provides opportunities for them to reconnect to their traditional roles within families and communities. Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin provides a supportive model for community healing which can be easily adapted to fit with individual communities.

This initiative was modelled after the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) which supports men’s actions in ending violence around the world. In almost 50 countries, the White Ribbon Campaign supports men and boys as they examine their attitudes and actions. They are asking important questions about creating healthier and happier relationships and are proudly joining with women and girls to end the many forms of violence against women. They are declaring “our future has no violence against women”.

Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin is a Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) initiative. The OFIFC has been actively promoting health and healing among urban Aboriginal people since 1973. They are committed to combatting the alarming conditions of poor health and family violence that Aboriginal People in Ontario endure. In 1991, a handful of Canadian men started the White Ribbon Campaign. In many countries, the focus of the campaign is around November 25, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women and, in many countries, referred to simply as “White Ribbon Day”. In some countries, White Ribbon Days continues for one or two weeks. In Canada, it runs from November 25 to December 6, the anniversary of the 1989 murder of 14 women in Montreal by a man who resented women’s achievements and independence. In other countries, the focus is other times of the year. Whenever it is, these focus days are a time for public awareness efforts in schools, workplaces, places of worship, the media and communities.

Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres Pallas Communications