Northern Strategy

Indigenizing Grantmaking for Gender Justice in the North

The Canadian Womens’ Foundation is honoured to partner with MakeWay Foundation on a Northern Strategy, guided by the Northern Women and Girls Advisory Committee with representatives from Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut.

Diverse women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people living in Northern communities face unique challenges and work in unique ways to address them.

They face some of the highest rates of violence, poverty, and poor health in Canada. They often have least access to basic services—things like transportation and community programs. Legacies of colonialism and residential schools erode local connectedness and sense of identity.

Indigenous gender justice leaders in the North know the solution to these challenges and what women, girls, and gender-diverse people need to reclaim connections to land and culture in the North. They are the catalysts for sustainable and healthy futures.

Granting Focus Identified by Northern Advisory Committee

  • Uplifting women’s contemporary roles and responsibilities in family and community, often through the reclamation of Indigenous culture and tradition.
  • Empowering programming led by Indigenous health and wellness institutions and increasing cultural competency within public health and wellness institutions.
  • Centering and reconciling gender relationships in family and community as a pathway to end violence.
  • Expanding culturally appropriate, community-driven, and secure childcare services to reduce barriers to northern Indigenous women’s economic independence.

Northern Initiatives

The Northern Women and Girls Advisory Committee is built on meaningful community-based relationships that enable the Canadian Women’s Foundation to grant towards these excellent initiatives.

Northern Birthwork Collective, as it starts up and creates an Accessible Doula Support Program and Indigenous Doula Training. It will offer culturally safe, gender-inclusive, whole-family and one-on-one care, as well as work to increase the number of doulas across the territory and revitalize traditional birth and perinatal practices.
Akpaliapik Program of Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council, to be piloted in Rankin Inlet to help girls 9 to 13 gain life skills and mentorship and confidence-building opportunities, based on four Inuit Maligait principles working for the common good, maintaining harmony and balance, respecting all living things and continually planning and preparing for the future.
Messy Book Program of Arctic Rose Foundation, as it expands reach and benefits to girls and young people aged 12 to 19 in North Qikiqtaaluk, Arctic Bay, and Pond Inlet through an after-school program.
The Kitikmeot Heritage Society will offer a program for women and girls to learn the sewing and skin-preparation techniques to make a traditional Kalikuk parka. These skills have been integral to the survival and artistic expression of the Innuinait culture The program will also create a safe space for conversations, self-care, and connections with community elders.
The Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council’s Ajuungi Anaanas pilot program in Rankin Inlet empowers diverse mothers with parenting skills, connecting them with role models, mentors, and community resources. It is grounded in traditional Inuit principles and values.
Map North Canada

Northern Strategy Update