Local Wolastoq artist Susan Sacobie created a piece of art to represent the Looking Out For Each Other project. She says:“This painting is for the missing and murdered Wolastoqiyik & Mi’kmak women that were almost forgotten. The five women in this piece represent knowledge, faith, wisdom, justice and peace. They are wearing our traditional peaked hats decorated with the double curve motifs. The wampum belt on the bottom is our promise to each woman that their lives will be remembered, celebrated, honoured. The wampum belt is also a promise to each Native woman that we have to rebuild our matriarchal standing within each of our families & communities. We must humble ourselves and learn and teach one another about who we are, where we come from and to not be silent and share our individual stories so we can empower our sisters, stay connected and strong and in turn we keep our families and communities strong. Their connecting shields are protecting us and reminding each of us that it is an obligation and a privilege to guard one another because we are all connected. As mothers and daughters, the living as well as the women who crossed the rainbow bridge we have to tell ourselves and each other our lives matter, we are important and we have to love and respect each other unconditionally and stand together.” These words and the voices of Indigenous women will continue to guide the project.
Looking Out for each other project (LOFEO)
Who we are
The New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council is leading a community driven project called Looking Out For Each Other: Assisting Aboriginal families and communities when an Aboriginal woman goes missing. The main goal of our project is to empower Aboriginal organizations to provide well supported services to families and friends of missing people. We are collaborating on this project with other Aboriginal organizations, community members, Universities and mainstream service providers in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Partner Aboriginal Organizations
We have partnered with other Native Councils, Friendship Centres, Aboriginal Women’s organizations and Aboriginal service organizations to hold Sharing Circles and to develop a network of resources and supports for community members in their regions. Our Sharing Circles are intended to provide a culturally safe atmosphere for people that want to share their stories and experiences in dealing with the law, media, justice and other social systems when a loved one has experienced abuse, gone missing or was murdered. Information gathered from the Sharing Circles serves in the development of culturally appropriate resources and supports for families and communities of missing Indigenous people, including provincial helplines.
Helpline & Resources
We are working on establishing provincial helplines in Atlantic Canada. The helpline is currently being piloted in New Brunswick in partnership with Gignoo Transition House. This is a 24-7 helpline that serves as a support, information, and referral service system, to help families navigate the various systems when a loved one goes missing. The helpline phone number is 1-833-MMI-FIND, which stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Families In Need of Direction.
We are working with researchers at the University of New Brunswick, Université du Quebec à Montreal, St. Thomas University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Kings College, Dalhousie University, and the Nova Scotia Community College using participatory, community-driven research and community action methodologies that will lead to improved services in the areas of legal and policing services as well as non-discriminatory media practices.
Mainstream Service Providers
We are working with legal clinics and law firms to provide services to people who are seeking legal supports. We are working with federal, provincial and municipal police services to ensure that risk assessment protocols and tools are responsive to the needs of Indigenous missing persons and their loved ones. LOFEO is working with media organizations to develop best practices and principles for improved reporting on missing Indigenous persons that will be shared with journalists and journalism students in the Atlantic region.