I want to use this space today to amplify the voices of a collective of incredible people here in Manitoba. Lead by the vision of Elder Mae Louise Campbell, the Clan Mothers are a group of Indigenous women elders who want to help heal the ongoing systemic, multi-generational trauma in their communities. As elders and female leaders, they know what their people need: a Healing Village.
Elder Mae Louise Campbell is a healer, teacher, grandmother and advocate who has made it her life’s work to support and strengthen Indigenous women — both individually and collectively. I first met Elder Mae Louise Campbell in 2014 as we travelled together to the Festival of Faiths in Louisville, Kentucky. We were part of a Winnipeg delegation who were all interested in attending the event and in particular, an opportunity to attend a gathering with his Holiness the Dalai Lama. A few years later in 2018, we jumped at the opportunity to meet again when we heard through Marymound and other people from our delegation, including Sister Norma McDonald, that Elder Mae Louise was looking for people to support in her efforts.
We were captivated by her vision: a village run by Indigenous women, for Indigenous women. They want to offer mid- to long-term care to women who have been victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. They know that the current supports for these women simply aren’t working and they continue to see vulnerable women in their communities struggle to find their way. Deeply rooted in their traditional values, their village will be located in a peaceful, natural setting, allowing those they care for to connect with the land and find healing among prairie grasses and wooded areas.
Further than that, they want to create a self-sustaining village, both environmentally and economically. Their plans include the ability to operate off of the grid and generate their own utilities, including power, heat, and wastewater filtration. They also want to implement social enterprises that will create meaningful opportunities for the women they’ll support, as well as fund their programming into the future.
So what’s next for Clan Mothers? A lot of hard work. With the support of Réseau Compassion Network and other contributors from many women religious congregations, we have been able to secure the land for their village which we intend to gift. They are one step closer to their dream but will need the support of many more allies for it to become a reality. This innovative program is something we are proud to play a small role in, and we hope you will follow along and support their Healing Village.