The Saskatoon Tribal Council held the grand opening of a new facility designed to help women transition back to society following incarceration.

The Īkwēkīcik iskwēwak or “turning their life around” housing project is a facility designed to house 18 women for up to 18 months who have recently left the Pine Grove Correctional Centre.

It is located just off 20 Street West on Saskatoon’s west side.

“Giving these women a chance to regain their independence and a place to call home is the right thing to do,” said Tribal Chief Mark Arcand at the grand opening. “ Īkwēkīcik iskwēwak will make an incredible difference in our society and hopefully help break a negative cycle for some.”

The project received funding from both the federal and provincial government – $3.8 million from Ottawa and $3.6 million from the province. The day to day operations will now foll on the STC and will include a holistic approach to the residence with 24 hour staff available.

Tribal Chief Arcand pointed to all these levels of government working together as a key for change in the high incarceration rates for Indigenous women as well as many other areas.

“We see too much not working together and fighting over jurisdiction,” he said. “We have to put that aside and do what’s best for the humanity of people.”

Īkwēkīcik iskwēwak will begin receiving their first 18 residents in the coming days and according to Arcand there are nearly 100 more on the waiting list.

(PHOTO – photos provided by the Saskatoon Tribal Council.)