by Gerri-Lee, Medicine Bear Participant
In 2013 I walked into Ka Ni Kanichihk and was guided to Medicine Bear Counselling, Support and Elder Services. The last time I went to Ka Ni Kanichihk was to visit my sister Jennifer at work, but this time it was seeking counselling on the bereavement of her death.
Our family was welcomed with the most loving councillor who provided us with the utmost care. We were counselled with beautiful traditional teachings, the smell of Sage and Sweetgrass medicines lingered around us as we shared our grief and pain. We were provided with precious tools to grieve and heal in a good way. Medicine Bear program has walked hand in hand with my family for many years. We were provided quick access and connected to Victim Services, and Medicine Bear program reintroduced us to our beautiful culture through ceremonies such as sweats, sundance, and pipe ceremonies. Medicine Bear program also provides weekly group sessions for MMIWG Families where we come together by sharing our gifts of beading and feasting together.
Medicine Bear also organizes the annual Wiping Away the Tears gathering which is always a special time for me and for all the families. It lifts our spirits as we share in a safe space together as we continue to go through the pain and healing.
I’m grateful today and always for the loving community that Medicine Bear provides to MMIWG families. No family should ever have to walk this journey alone and it is very important that programs like Medicine Bear continue today and tomorrow. I’m also thankful for the Missing Persons & Persons at Risk Tool Kit as my family used these important resources and information in the time my sister Jennifer went missing.
I don’t know how I could have managed on my own with the grief that I had to carry, especially through other obstacles in my daily life.
Medicine Bear also offers holistic help with everyday needs and other personal supports. Through the pandemic, Medicine Bear has poured out their love even more with food hampers, health & wellness kits, online sessions, and bringing medicines if needed. Because of the love and support we received from Medicine Bear my sister Kim and I want to express our love and gratitude by developing a bursary to honour the memory of our sister Jennifer Dawn McPherson. We want to give back to Ka Ni Kanichihk and provide a small honorarium to students who have also been impacted by MMIWG, to help in their education.
Because Medicine Bear has made such a big impact on my life today I’ve become a strong advocate for my sister Jennifer and will always honour her memory. If you would like to contribute to the bursary fund, please visit kanikanichihk.ca/donate/ or by calling (204) 953-5820.
To find out more about the Missing Persons & Persons at Risk Tool Kit: Missing Persons & Persons at Risk Toolkit | Ka Ni Kanichihk