Metis Women Strong and Beautiful

Métis Women,Strong and Beautiful

The aim of the Métis Women: Strong and Beautiful project is to better understand the influences, vulnerabilities, available supports and services, and role of health promotion messaging for Métis women at risk of sexual exploitation. This project builds on previous work on healthy messaging undertaken by the Métis Centre in collaboration with Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) respectively, to examine the concepts of Métis specificity, identity and cultural safety from a health perspective. Research for this project aims to fill a gap in knowledge about the sexual exploitation of Métis women and identify specific responses to increase well-being.

Methodology

Fieldwork for the Métis Women: Strong and Beautiful project was conducted in three urban centres in British Columbia:  Fort St. John, Prince George, and Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. These areas have significant Métis populations and were identified as areas of risk for the sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women. Participants included Métis women who self-identified as having personal knowledge of sexual exploitation, as well as service providers, the majority of whom identified as Métis.

Preliminary Results

  • Although Loss of culture and identity was a recurring theme, there exists a desire to learn more about Métis culture and to re-connect with Métis ways.
  • There is a need for culturally appropriate Métis-specific resources and services for women at risk.
  • Messaging for Métis women should be positive and empowering, focusing on the strength, beauty and health of Métis women and the Métis people.
  • Messaging for service providers should include a Métis-specific cultural competency framework, connected to both historical and current issues facing Métis.
  • In addition to Métis women, youth were deemed an important target group for messaging.

Resources