NWAC announces the winners of the 2014 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON (August 29th, 2014)—The Native Women’s Association of Canada is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award. This initiative assists Aboriginal women who are enrolled in post-secondary education, and was made available through the generous donations of Helen Bassett. As an active supporter of equal rights for Aboriginal peoples and in particular those of Aboriginal women, Ms. Bassett’s wish was for funds to be used for post-secondary student awards, and more specifically for women pursuing law careers.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is committed to supporting young Aboriginal women in their pursuit of post-secondary education. This year the Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award Selection Committee received and reviewed over 50 applications from Aboriginal women across Canada. NWAC is pleased to announce four awards in the amount of $1,000.00 to the following outstanding young women:

Siera Bearchell (WEST)
Siera is a Métis law student embarking on the first year of her Juris Doctor Degree at University of Saskatchewan. Siera’s passion for making a difference has allowed her to overcome many obstacles on her journey to law school. After her studies she’s aiming to become a leader in Canadian law and is striving to have memorable and meaningful impact in the lives of Aboriginal women.

Brittnee Sheridan (EAST)
Brittnee is a young First Nations woman from Newfoundland who is in her fourth year of Law & Justice and Indigenous Studies at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Brittnee is extremely active in the community where she resides and she plans to use her education to fulfill her desire to work to improve the rights of all Aboriginal Women across Canada.

Alyssa Flaherty-Spence (NORTH)
Alyssa is an Inuk woman who successfully completed the 8 week Legal Studies Program for Native Students and is now enrolled in her second year of the Common Law Program at the University of Ottawa. She is committed to achieving equality and aspires to one day help Aboriginal Women by practicing law in an institution that recognizes the injustices when it comes to the legal representation of Aboriginal people.

Caitlin Tolley (SOUTH)
Caitlin is a young Anishinabe woman admitted in the Juris Doctor Program at the University of Ottawa. At age 21, she was the youngest person in her community to be elected on council and has worked to address women’s issues specifically related to health and social services. Caitlin intends to use her education to continue to advocate and seek justice for First Nations.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

For more information, please contact:

Claudette Dumont Smith, Executive Director
1-800-461-4043 or cdumontsmith@nwac.ca

14.08.29 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award Winners

 

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NWAC Discouraged by Racist Assumptions in the Globe and Mail

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 27, 2014 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is disappointed with the racist remarks made within the article published by the Globe and Mail – “Posturing is the only reason for a missing women inquiry.” The article is symptomatic of the problem that Aboriginal Peoples face every day. Racist generalizations are often made to try to dismiss the real issue, which is that Aboriginal women and girls are being specifically targeted in alarmingly high rates by predators compared to non-Aboriginal women given their populations and their perpetrators know that they will likely get away with it.

Nowhere in any of the reports by NWAC or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) does it state that missing and murdered Aboriginal women, are being killed by Aboriginal men, yet assumptions are being made by the Globe and Mail, which implies that all Aboriginal women are killed by Aboriginal men and that this is an “Aboriginal only” problem. The article by Jeffrey Simpson states: “Although the report does not say so directly, the data strongly suggest that aboriginal women were (and are) largely being victimized by aboriginal men, which means that solutions to the problem lie not within a public inquiry, but within aboriginal communities about why this is happening – and, of course, in a wider reflection on the disadvantaged situation of aboriginals in Canada.”

“The RCMP report, nor any of the research results completed by NWAC, makes reference to the race of the perpetrators who have been convicted of killing Aboriginal women, so to throw these generalizations out there is both dangerous and perpetuates racism against Aboriginal men,” said NWAC President Michèle Audette. Although the research results demonstrate that most homicides are most often perpetrated by spouses or someone known to the victim, it does not state that anywhere that Aboriginal women are married to Aboriginal men and that all their known acquaintances are Aboriginal. To assume that the spouses are Aboriginal is a false assumption.

“For the Globe and Mail to insinuate that the 1200 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women are nothing more than the result of violence within Aboriginal communities is irresponsible and detracts from the real issue, which is that there are significantly more Aboriginal women than non-Aboriginal women being killed in this country, and that investigations have not been conducted in a way that leads to their resolution, and that there are major problems with the justice and public response to these crimes,” continued Ms. Audette.

NWAC is asking that the Globe and Mail retract their unfounded statement and that other media be conscientious about fueling racism against Aboriginal Peoples in Canada when reporting on issues such as these in the news.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Claudette Dumont Smith, Executive Director
1-800-461-4043 or cdumontsmith@nwac.ca

14.08.27 NWAC Discouraged by Racist Assumptions by Globe and Mail

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The Obvious Need for a National Public Inquiry!

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 19, 2014 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is once again extremely disheartened and discouraged to learn that the wrapped body, pulled out of the Red River, Manitoba on August 18, was that of 15 year-old Tina Fontaine, who had only very recently gone missing. And, just a week ago prior to this event, the remains of another young Aboriginal woman, Samantha Paul, was found near Kamloops, BC. “Every week now, we hear of another Aboriginal girl or woman, who has gone missing, to be found brutally murdered. This must stop!” exclaimed Michèle Audette, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).

As indicated in the recently released Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report, Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, the total number of Aboriginal who have been identified as missing or murdered clearly indicates that they are over-represented among all of Canada’s missing and murdered women. “This is a national disgrace, a national tragedy and a travesty of justice for Aboriginal women and is an issue that all Canadians have to take ownership of”, said President Audette. NWAC, and its’ many supporters, have been relentless in its call for a national public inquiry and a comprehensive action plan to address this crisis. “With the ever increasing number of missing and murdered Aboriginal girls and women, there is an obvious need for a National Public Inquiry – nothing else will do”, said President Audette.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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For additional information, please contact:

Claudette Dumont Smith, Executive Director
1-800-461-4043 or cdumontsmith@nwac.ca

14.08.19 Need for a National Public Inquiry

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NWAC wants Thérèse Casgrain’s Name Restored to the National Volunteer Awards

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(August 6, 2014) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is concerned that Thérèse Casgrain’s legacy is in jeopardy with the unceremonious and disrespectful removal of her name from the National Volunteer Awards.

The Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award was created to honour individuals who reflected the selfless nature of Casgrain’s work. With determination Casgrain fought for the right of Quebec women to vote, which they finally won in 1940.

NWAC President Michèle Audette stated, “In Quebec where my roots are, a strong tradition of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women leaders have helped women and girls know that they can be active participants in Quebec’s economic and political landscape. There is still much work to be done, however Thérèse Casgrain’s many contributions as an early feminist in Quebec cannot be understated or forgotten”.

The renamed “Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards” does not have at its core the principles Casgrain embodied and NWAC requests that Thérèse Casgrain’s name be restored and reattached to Canada’s National Volunteer Awards.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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For additional information, please contact:

Claudette Dumont Smith, Executive Director
1-800-461-4043 or cdumontsmith@nwac.ca

14.08.06 NWAC Wants Therese Casgrains Name Restored to the National Volunteer Awards

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