Local leader in First Nations family services to receive lifetime achievement award for work in ending violence against women

The lead administrator for London’s Atlohsa Native Family Healing Services, Darlene Ritchie, will receive the John Robinson Lifetime Contribution Award for her work in ending women abuse at a ceremony Thursday evening.

As a partner organization in the community, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) recognizes and congratulates Ritchie for her many achievements.

The John Robinson award was created by the London Coordinating Committee to End Woman Abuse in 1988. The award is given in honour of John Robinson, a London police inspector, and recognizes an individual or group who has promoted substantial change in the area of woman abuse.

Ritchie is Turtle Clan, Onoyo^ta:ka (Oneida), a member of the Saugeen First Nation, and has served as the Director of Operations at Atlohsa for more than 16 years.

A child and youth worker, Ritchie’s began her career working with children, youth and their families in a residential treatment setting. She went on to develop and coordinate child welfare services on reserve with a focus on providing prevention services as opposed to mandated services. In 1992 she became a Band Administrator and in 1997 was elected Chief of the First Nation she is a member of.

Ritchie has presented at a number of international conferences and national forums. From 1997 to 2000 she was a spokesperson for the “Coalition for an Inquiry into the Death of Dudley George”.  She has also served as chairperson for several organizations including the Saugeen Cape Croker Family Violence Prevention Committee, The City of London Homeless Coalition, and the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.

In 2006 Ritchie was named to the City of London’s Mayor’s Honors List for her outstanding contributions in housing.

Ritchie is a proud Indigenous Woman, she is a passionate advocate in the movement to end violence against women with a reputation for saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done.

The Chief’s Council and staff at AIAI are proud and honoured to work alongside Ritchie through Atlohsa and commend her on this tremendous achievement.

AIAI is mandated as a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on Twitter@AIAI_comms and on Facebook.

For more information, please contact Suzanne Morrison at smorrison@aiai.on.ca or 519.281.6238.