Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata (Ma Mawi) is a Grandmother in the Winnipeg family of community service-providers working with Indigenous families for more than 30 years. Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata means “we all work together to help one another” in Ojibway. Over the last 10 years, Ma Mawi and Equitas have been exchanging knowledge, ideas, and working together to strengthen programming that engages and supports Indigenous youth. This year, young Aboriginal women at Ma Mawi created a live magazine-video focused on mental health in their community – aimed at sharing experiences, teaching others about available resources and sharing traditions to help in healing. Young women expressed that they felt compelled to do something: “because we’ve lost friends to suicide and addictions. I feel like we’ve grown closer together.” The live magazine-video was shared through the network of youth centers in Winnipeg and continues to be used in the community to encourage ongoing conversations around mental health.
“We are still showing the video and sharing it with the community. A lot of the time the youth in the video are recognized and are the go-to youth for others when they need help or resources (on mental health) … Our video was shown to our leaders and our Executive Director who then took it to show in Switzerland at a conference about violence against Aboriginal women.” – Coordinator, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Winnipeg
This thoughtful project started by young Indigenous women in Winnipeg is making a difference in their own lives, the lives of their peers, and spreading awareness and understanding about a critical issue, across the community and beyond.