It’s been four months since Victoria Pruden was elected chair of the Metis Women of B.C., but she’s already hard at work, hoping to bring about change for First Nations women.
Since her election as chair in the fall, she’s been giving a voice to Metis women at various levels of government by listening to their perspectives, while acknowledging the past and present contributions of Metis women.
Pruden recently helped submit a number of proposals to the Ministry of Justice and hopes to secure $80,000 in funding to train women to run group programming at the community level.
She also participated in a national meeting of Metis women to discuss the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry and how the organization will support families and women from Vancouver Island, as well as women who were victims of violence, who want to provide testimony for the inquiry.
“I could imagine there could be hundreds of women on Vancouver Island who could eventually want to provide testimony in the inquiry,” Pruden said.
In September, Pruden was elected the chair of the Metis Women of B.C., an organization that focuses on empowering Metis women to fulfil their potential in all aspects of their lives from physical health and well-being, to cultural connection, and community involvement, as well as education and economic security.
It’s a position she was both relieved and overjoyed to take over, as her first foyer into politics in the nation.
“It was one of my life goals to have achieved something like that,” Pruden said. “The way I see it right now is I’m in a position to really strongly advocate for Metis women’s voices at different levels of government and be able to seek out funding to provide programming that will support Metis women in identity, in wellness, in parenting, in violence prevention and address things like intergenerational trauma.”
She also hopes to increase funding for programming to help Metis women connect through traditional crafting and medicines, to both create a sense of identity and increase their support system.
But this is not the first time Pruden has taken a position that focuses on helping women. Pruden is also the executive director of Bridges for Women, a non-profit that helps women who have experienced trauma to re-enter the workforce.
This year, the organization hopes to increase awareness around the number of free services offered to women, including one-on-one services, trauma counselling, full-time and part-time pre-employment programs, mentorship and self-employment programs.
“We know that people’s minds at the beginning of the year shift to goals, to positive change that they want to make and we really want people to know that we’re here to support women in our community,” Pruden said.
For more information about programs that Bridges for Women offer visit bridgesforwomen.ca.