Paqtnkek Project Resources

Background on the Issues

Sexual violence is an issue across all communities in Canada and Aboriginal women are particularly vulnerable to and victimized by sexual violence. “Aboriginal women have faced historical violence and brutality that still continues today. This abuse affects aboriginal women physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.” (Researched to Death: B.C. Aboriginal Women and Violence, 2005)

  • Aboriginal women 15 years and older are 5 times more likely to experience violence than non-Aboriginal women. (Statistics Canada’s 2004 General Social Survey (GSS))
  • 54% of Aboriginal women reported severe forms of family violence, such as being beaten, being choked, having had a gun or knife used against them, or being sexually assaulted, versus 37% of non-Aboriginal women. (Statistics Canada’s 2004 General Social Survey (GSS))
  • Indigenous women and girls are 3 times more likely to be sexually victimized than non-Indigenous women. (Breaking the Silence: A Coordinated Response to Sexual Violence in Nova Scotia, 2016)
  • Approximately 75% of survivors of sexual assault in Aboriginal communities are young women under 18 years of age. Approximately 50% of these girls are under the age of 14 and approximately 25% are under the age of 7. (Newfoundland Labrador Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fact Sheet, 2008)
  • Aboriginal women between the ages of 25 and 44 years are 5 times more likely than all other women in the same age group to die as a result of violence. (Newfoundland Labrador Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fact Sheet, 2008)
  • 1,181 women and girls identified as Indigenous were murdered or disappeared between 1980 and 2012. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s 2015 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview)

Approaches to addressing sexual violence – both responding to and preventing – have not been culturally relevant, culturally revitalizing, or culturally safe, which results in the “silencing” of these issues. Community members of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation have expressed this concern, sharing that “when sexual violence happens or is disclosed, the community as a whole does not know what to do.” These experiences of feeling unable to address this issue or feeling a lack of confidence in doing so impact community members and the community deeply and points to the need of this project. As one community member noted, “we are resilient, but our resiliency is getting worn down.”

To strengthen community-based solutions to these issues and to break the silence around sexual violence, the Paqtnkek Health Centre and the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services Association are working together to develop Mi’kmaq-specific initiatives for response and prevention. With that objective, this project is a unique one, in which lessons learned in Paqtnkek will be shared throughout Mi’kmaq territory.


Gender-Based Analysis Plus

Sexual Violence

  • This workshop guide was developed for young women and program facilitators to hold discussions about how to respond to violence, to increase knowledge of rights, services and community resources. The activities in the guide are intended for facilitators with expertise in violence prevention programs and providing support for survivors of IPV. The workshop guide is designed to be adaptable to your group’s specific needs and context. We recommend reading each chapter’s introduction before planning your program to help you select which activities are most suitable for your group.
  • Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) works with individuals, communities and institutions to change ideas, actions and policies with the goal of ending violence against women and youth. Delivering relevant and boundary-breaking services and programs, we focus on education and prevention and use innovative tools to build safety, justice and equity.
  • What is sexual violence? (World Health Organization)
  • Sexual violence is defined as: any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home, school, and work.

Nova Scotia Sexual Violence Strategy


  • What is coercion? (World Health Organization)
  • Coercion can cover a whole spectrum of degrees of force. Apart from physical force, it may involve psychological intimidation, blackmail or other threats – for instance, the threat of physical harm, of being dismissed from a job or of not obtaining a job that is sought. It may also occur when the person aggressed is unable to give consent – for instance, while drunk, drugged, asleep or mentally incapable of understanding the situation.
  • What is consent? (Department of Justice)
    • Subsection 273.1(1) defines consent as the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question. Conduct short of a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity does not constitute consent as a matter of law.
    • For greater certainty, subsection 273.1(2) sets out specific situations where there is no consent in law; no consent is obtained:
    • where the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant
    • where the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity
    • where the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority
    • where the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity, or
    • where the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.

Bringing In The Bystander

  • A pro-social bystander intervention program based on a community of responsibility.

Indigenous Feminism

Violence against Indigenous Women

  • Sisters In Spirit, Native Women’s Association of Canada (addresses violence against First Nations, Inuit, and Metis women, particularly racialized and sexualized violence)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Family Violence against Indigenous Women

  • This site offers a number of publications for people who are working in the area of family violence prevention for Aboriginal communities – both on- and off-reserve. Our Mi’kmaq and Maliseet partners encourage you to use the information on this site. It may help you to create responses to family violence both in terms of crisis intervention, public education and prevention.
  • The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence (NACAFV) is an organization dedicated to supporting our hardworking front-line workers in shelters and transition houses across the country.


Parents/Caregivers and Youth


Cyber Stuff



  • The Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) is an organization by and for Indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice throughout the United States and Canada.
  • Za-geh-do-win Information Clearinghouse (information about health, healing, and family violence for Aboriginal communities)


Sacred Seven Healthy Relationship Program

Teachings of the Seven Sacred/Seven Grandfathers

Human Trafficking

  • A free online training program, which includes resources, tools and tips to assist service providers working with survivors of human trafficking, developed by MCIS Language Services with funding from the Province of Ontario, through Victims’ Services.

Aboriginal Ways Tried and True

  • Interventions posted on this site are based on best available evidence of successful public health interventions occurring in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities (urban and rural). All interventions have been assessed using a culturally-relevant, inclusive, and validated framework.

Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch

  • A Mi’kmaw Ethics Committee has been appointed by the Sante’ Mawio’mi (Grand Council) to establish a set of principles and protocols that will protect the integrity and cultural knowledge of the Mi’kmaw people. These principles and protocols are intended to guide research and studies in a manner that will guarantee that the right of ownership rests with the various Mi’kmaw communities.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Indigenous Evaluation Framework

  • “The AIHEC Indigenous Evaluation Framework centres evaluation in traditional ways of knowing. Evaluation leads to new knowledge, so our own epistemologies—our ways of knowing are essential to our evaluation practice. We also need to embed evaluation within cultural values. The Framework identifies four core cultural values that influence approaches to evaluation in Indigenous communities. Once we centre evaluation in our values and ways of knowing, we can adapt and implement Western evaluation practices.”

For information on residential schools, colonialism, intergenerational trauma and trauma-informed, holistic, and culturally safe service delivery, see External/Non-Community Service Providers Resources Guide.

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