The cerulean and indigo fabric on the twin bed provides the only pop of colour in a mostly grey and white room. Tacked on top is a letter with the words "made especially for you."
Each woman who stays at īkwēskīcik iskwēwak, a transitional home in Saskatoon for women leaving jail, gets a quilt like this.
"It just gives them a sense that 'somebody cares for me,'" said Crystal LaPlante, who oversees justice programs for the Saskatoon Tribal Council. "For the ones that have been abused, the ones told they're nothing — this says, 'You are loved.'"
Grassroots resources for Indigenous offenders, like īkwēskīcik iskwēwak, are where real change happens, according to those with lived experience and their advocates.
While many recommendations from a recent inquest into Canada's worst mass stabbing focus on support for offenders while they're in prison, others say it's time to pour more resources into community-based programs.
"It's a different way of doing business, so to speak," said LaPlante. "But with our very high overrepresentation rates of Indigenous incarceration, we know the current system isn't working."
In September 2022, 32-year-old Myles Sanderson from James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan stabbed 11 people to death and wounded 17 others. After an almost four-day manhunt, Sanderson died in police custody.
At a provincial coroner's inquest in January, a jury heard that Sanderson attacked members of his community despite the fact that he had completed several programs in prison to address his struggles with addictions, intergenerational trauma and domestic abuse.
The jury and coroner eventually made 29 recommendations to prevent future tragedies, at least eight of which explicitly focus on improving programs and resources run by Correctional Service Canada (CSC).
Most of those recommendations stemmed from testimony where witnesses described an overburdened system with long wait lists for psychiatric care and Indigenous-focused programs.
That's where places such as īkwēskīcik iskwēwak can fill the void, says LaPlante, since in-custody programs can be hard to navigate with time and access constraints.
"We have two registered psychiatric nurses on staff. We have mental health and addictions support. We have case workers. We have the elders," she said.
"We want this to be a one-stop shop so women can be successful."
Plans for this transitional home, whose name means "women turning their lives around" in Cree, started years before the 2022 mass murder. It has provincial and federal funding, but it's primarily run by the Saskatoon Tribal Council.