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Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is pleased to introduce Heidi Spence (she/her) as the new Director of MKO’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Liaison Unit.
Born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba, Heidi is a member of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. A Two-Spirit First Nations woman, she joined the MKO family in 2017 as one of the original members of the Mobile Crisis Response Team. She has held several roles at MKO and has travelled to many MKO communities.
“The roles I have held at MKO allowed me to broaden my skills using a culturally safe and trauma-informed approach while delivering health and wellness support services to First Nations in need,” shared Heidi.
Heidi is an advocate for Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and all other sexual orientations and genders (2SLGBTQQIA+) individuals and families who are seeking acceptance and support.
“Growing up in a community where homophobia was prevalent and support services were virtually non-existent was challenging,” said Ms. Spence. “I am a survivor of gender-based violence and an intergenerational survivor of Indian residential school. Having lived experience and the strength to overcome numerous life challenges has made me the person I am today—a natural helper with a passion for improving the lives of others.”
Graduating with honours from the CDI College of Business Technology Healthcare, Heidi obtained a diploma in the Community and Addictions Service Program.
“Culture and spirituality are a very important aspect in my life and an essential part of my overall well-being. Being involved in ceremony, traditions, and having a connection to the land are an essential part of ensuring these practices are preserved for generations to come,” stated Heidi.
About MKO’s MMIWG Liaison Unit
The MKO MMIWG Liaison Unit designs and delivers culturally responsive, trauma informed health and cultural support services for family members, survivors of violence, and those affected by the issue of MMIWG, which includes members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.
The Unit works to advocate, build partnerships and relationships, and prevent and build awareness of all forms of gender-based violence. The Unit also hosts annual and periodic community gatherings and events in urban and remote Manitoba communities with the intention of providing education, awareness, and opportunities for healing, reclaiming the spirit, and empowerment.
For more information, please contact:
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-442-0488
Direct line: 204-677-1648
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