2020 was definitely different and came with lots of struggles for our group of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2 Spirit-impacted families. The families of Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Medicine Bear program have always socialized in person and we sure miss eating together, talking, beading, and just enjoying each other’s company. It was very challenging to keep our strong connection going during the pandemic. But Medicine Bear Counselling is doing our best to ensure our families can still engage with us and connect with each other. It’s so important as we have really become our own special family over the years.

Due to pandemic social distancing rules, our usual Wiping Away the Tears (WATT) gathering was cancelled. We know our families are hurting for that time spent gathering and healing together. To help make things feel a bit better, we sent positive vibes and heartfelt care packages out to our families. We are so overwhelmed with gratitude to our funders for making this possible.

As you may know, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls closed on June 3, 2019 and resulted in 231 Calls to Justice. This is now a significant date in the fight for action on MMIWG2S+ and we plan to host a virtual WATT on that day this year.

Our virtual weekly beading sessions are not only for beading; we like to chat and visit because we haven’t seen each other in so long. It is amazing to have family members join us from all over the province and we agreed that even when we can gather in person again we will still set up a virtual link for those who want to attend but can not make it to Ka Ni Kanichihk. Learning this was one benefit that resulted from the pandemic restrictions.

We look forward to nice weather and can’t wait until we can gather in person again.

“At Medicine Bear we get so much support and love from the workers that work at Medicine Bear, through out the pandemic they never forgot about us and did regular check ins all the time.  One thing I like is that I can reach out to them over social media when I need to talk to someone or have any questions and someone always gets back as soon as possible.  The care packages that we have been receiving have been amazing, from food to crafts and in between, some of the crafts have been group projects, like beading strawberries which has been really fun/cool to do especially for our mental health over the winter months. I can say without a doubt that Medicine Bear and Ka Ni Kanichihk have done the most for my family and me since this pandemic started and I am truly grateful for all the wonderful people who have not forgotten about me and my little family, I think my mental health would be way worse if I didn’t have weekly on line beading to look forward to as well.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Program Participant