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'A dream come true': Indigenous advocates grateful for retreat for MMIWG


A special retreat for family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is being called a success.

The retreat was held in May at YWCA’s Camp Yowochas near Wabamun Lake.

“The opportunity to pray together, to share together, to cry together, to laugh together. That’s all medicine,” said retreat leader Lorette Goulet.

The retreat is designed to help participants break the cycle.

“Teaching these young girls to be strong, so they’re not lured away by empty promises and by horrible people that take advantage of them.”

Stephanie Harpe, another one of the retreat leaders, says the retreat was life changing.

“I have to say that this camp was a dream come true. It was a dream come true.”

Harpe is a 60s Scoop survivor and advocate for Indigenous rights.

She says campers are often closed off when they arrive, but sharing, therapy and Indigenous traditions help them open up.

“To see their faces and to have another environment where they’re like, happy and free and expressing themselves.”

And more retreats will be held in the future, thanks to a grant of $100,000 from the Alberta government.

“This has been such a fun project for us to take on. When you can actually see you’re making a difference, then it’s worthwhile,” said Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson.

Harpe is grateful they’ll be able to continue making a difference.

“Every Indigenous person in this country is owed healing. And we are severely traumatized and really looking into where we can go where it’s safe to heal.”

The next retreat is scheduled for November.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson. Top Stories

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