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Connect indigenous prisoners to their culture: Grand Chief plays in Manitoba Prison

This month, behind the walls of the prison, prisoners in the federal prison in Manitoba are granted access to music, drums, and shared circles to connect with indigenous cultures. Indigenous Day was celebrated as a positive step towards regaining. Rehab a group that has been imprisoned at a disproportionate rate.

In mid-June, CTV News will host a music, dance and dining afternoon for nearly 200 indigenous prisoners who have been granted exclusive access within the Stoney Mountain Institute and have applied for participation. Observed community partners to do.

The prison yard was transformed into an outdoor venue, and a band led by Manitoba Kiwatinowio Kima Kanak Grand Chief Garrison Setty performed a song for the prisoners.

Setty has previously visited prisons and worked with prisoners, but this is the first time she has brought in his band, Kiwatin Breeze.

"We wanted to show them that they weren't forgotten, but they're still our people," Settee told CTVNational News.

"Show our relatives here that they are important and that we are waiting for them when they come out on the other side and start a new life for them Everyone wants to give hope is a second chance. ”

The reportreleased at the end of May highlights the importance of this work. — Auditor Karen Hogan found in a report that black and indigenous criminals face worse results than any other group. There are greater barriers to reviving when.

However, this information is not new. Hogan noted that the issue was reported in a previous audit and that corrective services did little to adjust their practices.

Meanwhile, the number of indigenous prisoners in Canadian prisons is increasing.

According to 2018statistics,, indigenous men make up 28% of Canada's prison population. Indigenous women make up 40 percent of the prison population in women's prisons.

Still, indigenous peoples make up less than 5 percent of Canada's total population. And the number of indigenous women sentenced to the federal government has increased by 60% over the last decade. This tells how the indigenous community has been scrutinized, policed ​​and ultimately imprisoned in Canada.

The chaise longue pointed out that having access to one's culture helps in the healing process and helps us understand how to make amends and change our lives.

"The message we convey is that everyone can change and everyone can change their lives," he said.

The performance at Stony Mountain was for prisoners in the security part of the prison. The men in attendance were convicted criminals, many of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment.

"As a creature, you have no guarantee that you will ever leave," Jonasbad told CTV National News.

A 52-year-old boy was put in jail for his second murder. Recently, he said he started working with the elders at the institution's spiritual lodge and felt that it would revolutionize.

"Because I'm a product of a scoop in the 1960s, my parents are a product of a housing school, so there's a lot of abuse, a lot of cultural loss, and a loss of language," he said. Told.

Intergenerational trauma is a common thread among indigenous prisoners, and reconnecting these prisoners to a lost culture is a major part of the work being done here. is.

There was dance and drumming on this day.

A prisoner has been sentenced to 15 years in prison through a program focused on the healing of indigenous peoples.

"I fell into drugs and alcohol, which is why I was here today," said Larry Duck. The 31-year-old thought that the availability of indigenous healing teachings helped him.

"I feel like I've finally become part of something I've been looking for for years," he said.

Inmates provide education and counseling, focusing on living outside.

"Our role is reintegration," Stony Mountain's evaluation and intervention manager, Laura Kirby, told CTV News. "Our role is not punishment. Our role is to meet the needs of these men and ensure they succeed when they return to the community."

The goal is that Settee wants to help everyone get closer.

The prisoners thanked him for the performance and told him and his bandmates, "It was the first time someone checked us […] and it was really nice that someone just came. Say hello and say we are here for you.

"It feels great to do this."

He said they should have the opportunity to access better ways, no matter how long they stay in jail. , And for these prisoners, it is the teachings of indigenous peoples and their unique culture.

"It may be 20 years or 25 years, but they support them from the ground up and give them the hope of living every day with gratitude for life. It can happen here." Said the chaise longue.

And the Grand Chief said he would keep the prisoners reminded of it long after the show was over.