A First Nation community in northwestern Ontario is seeing a $1.8 million investment from Ottawa to build a new healing space and women’s shelter for the community.

Big Grassy First Nation, located south of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls off of Highway 71, was visited by Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller this week to announce the construction of the new building, through the Cultural Spaces in Indigenous Communities Program.

"This is another meaningful step in responding to the MMIWG Calls for Justice, which call upon all governments to prioritize safe and meaningful access to culture and languages for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people,” said Minister Miller.

“Through the construction of a new cultural building, Big Grassy First Nation will create an inclusive and safe cultural space to continue the work of healing and revitalizing language and culture for generations to come,” he adds.

Chief Lynn Indian says the Big Grassy First Nation Cultural Space and Shelter for Women building will be used as a shelter for those in danger, a healing space and a gathering area for the community to host cultural and language programming.

“The cultural space will provide opportunities for the women of Big Grassy to nurture, develop culturally specific initiatives and provide a safe and inclusive space free from potentially violent and harmful situations,” says Chief Indian.

“Our community is grateful for the funding made available by the government of Canada to help address the needs of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people,” she adds.

There will also be healing areas to be used for prayers and land-based teachings, with a training area for courses and a display area for local artists. It will also house any person at risk to stay for a short-term or a longer-term stay, with 24-hour emergency access for those experiencing domestic violence.