The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is a leader in working with the Indigenous community. We offer resources unique to Indigenous women, who represent nearly 50% of the women engaged with the Elizabeth Fry Society’s Prison Community Outreach Program in mid-2019.
We believe that Indigenous women are more likely to heal when they have access to a culturally safe environment with traditional, spiritual support.
The 2016 Census identified that Indigenous populations make up 4.9% of the Canadian population (Statistics Canada, 2017). However, Indigenous populations continue to be overrepresented within Canada’s correctional system as Indigenous individuals comprised of 28% and 27% of admissions to provincial/territorial and federal correctional institutions in 2016/2017 (Malakieh, 2018). A number of EFry clients have language or cultural barriers that make it difficult to comprehend the legal processes. This impedes their ability to address their charges and achieve the best possible outcomes. EFry fills a gap in a complex system by assisting with understanding legal forms, filing processes and referrals to legal resources.
Elizabeth Fry engages Indigenous women in case management supports, programs and ceremony designed to increase their cultural identity, address intergenerational trauma, and encourage healing. Women can address their personal issues by talking with Elders individually or by sharing in healing circles. They are provided with cultural teachings, monthly sweatlodges, as well as other indigenous ceremonies based on season and availability.