Supporting the families of MMIWG

By Nahanni Fontaine, MLA for Point Douglas

As published in The Times January 09, 2016

The holidays can be a time of celebration for many people in Manitoba with the spirit of gratitude and recognition of one’s blessings.

Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a very difficult time for Manitobans who are without their loved ones. As most people know, I hold the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls very close to my heart and know first-hand how much of a struggle this time of year can be for them.

Children and families enjoy dinner and gifts at the 5th Annual 'Santa's Coming!' Christmas Celebration for MMIWG Families.

Because of this, for the last five years we have organized the "Santa’s Coming" MMIWG Christmas Celebration to make the holidays a little more joyful. We celebrated on Dec 22 with over 250 MMIWG family members, including just under 100 children. It’s always a beautiful evening where we gather as family and attempt to alleviate some of the emotional and financial struggle the holidays inevitably bring for MMIWG families.

It was wonderful to see the beautiful smiles on all of the children’s faces when Santa came to give them their Christmas presents; this year’s Santa was played by Mitch Bourbonniere. It was wonderful to see MMIWG families supporting and celebrating with each other as well as the incredible strength and love that they share.

This year’s annual "Santa’s Coming" MMIWG Christmas Celebration would not have been possible without the wonderful organizations and individuals who contributed by way of financial, toy and time donations.

I want to personally thank the Manitoba Islamic Association, Manitoba Building Trades, Southern Chiefs’ Organization, Manitoba Construction Sector Council, the No Stone Unturned Concert, Manitoba Status of Women, Andrew Swan, Angie Hutchinson, Dave Cannon, Desi-Rae Anderson & Students of Niji Mahkwa School, Elane Talbot, Greg Selinger, James Allum, John Diquinzio, Joni. N, Justin Bohémier , Karen Menkis , Lorraine Macaboric, Mary Scott, Marisa Dragani, Matt Wiebe, Michelle Desloges, Mike Main, Paula Benson, Rachel Morgan, Reuben Boulette, Ryan Cook & Students of Maples Collegiate, Russell Unilowsky, Shannon McCorry, Wab Kinew, and the Winnipeg School Division: Aboriginal Education and Newcomer Services. The amount of community support that went into this event is a true testament to how much Manitobans support MMIWG families. Meegwetch for all of the generous support and care shown over this holiday season.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones all the best in this new year with the endless possibilities that each new year brings for each of our personal journeys.