PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Applauds the Long-Awaited Elimination of Sex Discrimination in Indian Act Initiated By Government

July 28, 2016 (Ottawa ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada recognizes the Government’s stated commitment to end the sex-based discrimination that is embedded in the Indian Act.  Building from the Descheneaux case, the federal government has taken the opportunity to end sex discrimination in the entire Indian Act.

“We commend this commitment and would caution the Government about the timeline. We are currently in the middle of the summer, children are off school, and it is the time for berry picking, harvesting and fishing. Indigenous women have multiple priorities at this time and a short timeline for an issue that has been this longstanding could result in missed opportunities to build our collaboration relationship and ensure that we deal with the nuanced and explicit forms of sex discrimination in the Indian Act,” President Lavell-Harvard said.

The Government of Canada announced that they will have a two-staged approach in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in the case of Descheneaux et al., v. Canada.‎

A complete overhaul by the Government will be in direct contrast to the individualized, piecemeal approaches that have been done since the 1960’s and has required Indigenous women to go to court, and sacrifice their private life in order to achieve justice and fairness.  We take this opportunity to acknowledge and recognize the women who pursued individual court cases including Sharon McIvor, Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, and Yvonne Bedard and the many women behind Bill C-31.

The two-part process, as described by the Government of Canada, is to be “in full partnership with Indigenous peoples to first eliminate all known sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act.”  The Government’s plan in the coming weeks is to launch a formal engagement for legislative amendments to the Indian registration provisions under the Indian Act which will respond to the specific facts in the Descheneaux decision. These changes must be in place by February 3, 2017.  At that time the Government will also try to address “all other known sex-based discrimination in registration under the Act.”

The second phase is described by the federal government as a “collaborative process to examine the broader and systemic issues related to Indian registration and membership not covered in stage one.”   NWAC is particularly looking forward to addressing not only the systemic issues but the impact those issues have had on Indigenous women including our personal sense of identity; the lack of belonging and recognition by some communities when women want to return to their community; the undermining of Indigenous women’s governance roles and the connection to the violence we see in our families when women and men do not maintain their balanced governance roles.

As a National Indigenous Women’s Organization that has spent ten years being undermined, ignored and having our funding cut by 60% by the federal government, NWAC is in a process of actively rebuilding our capacity to substantively respond and coordinate a national response within short timelines. Our current rebuilding status needs to be factored into engagement processes at this time and should not be used as a way to undermine our participation in these key discussions and decisions.

We would ask in the spirit of that relationship they consider our noted concerns and, also, lift the Government’s opposition to Sharon McIvor’s petition at the UN Human Rights Committee which seeks full 6(1)(a) status for herself and her son.

NWAC will work with the Government of Canada to end the sex-based discrimination that has been part of the Indian Act since 1876.

For more information on the Descheneaux et al., v. Canada. case: http://www.firstpeopleslaw.com/database/files/library/Descheneaux_c._Canada_(Procureur_Gnral)_2015_QCCS_3555_(CanLII).pdf

 

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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CONTACT:

Dan Peters
Senior Operations Manager
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Approved to Administer Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grants and Awards Funds

July 25, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is pleased to announce that we are now recognized as an eligible institution to administer health research grant and award funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). NWAC is now able to apply directly for CIHR health research funding opportunities and hold research grant and award funds.

With this new designation, Aboriginal communities can collaborate with NWAC to engage in Aboriginal women’s health research that is of interest and a priority to them. We are dedicated to promoting and developing research in a way that encourages self-determination and community-driven research participation in Aboriginal communities across Canada. We also encourage the collection, release, and reporting of sex-disaggregated data that is essential in adequately addressing health conditions that impact Aboriginal women and men differently.

NWAC is currently funded under CIHR’s Signature Initiative, Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples, as a Partner for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange (PEKE) to engage in health research in four priority areas: suicide prevention, tuberculosis, diabetes/obesity, and oral health.

The NWAC PEKE works to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal women, families, and communities through health research, knowledge exchange, and action.  To achieve this goal, we facilitate linkages and enable learning across research teams and communities, and support the translation of research findings into policies, scale-up community interventions to improve health outcomes among Aboriginal women and their families.

The NWAC PEKE also collaborates with research teams, community and academic researchers to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and helps facilitate a gendered perspective and analysis in their research project to ensure equitable results in improving health conditions for both genders. We also support the translation of the knowledge to broader audiences such as leadership, policy makers, practitioners, and healthcare workers.

 

Quotes:

“NWAC’s ability to administer CIHR grants and awards is an important step in moving forwards toward the goal of achieving health equity for Aboriginal women in Canada,” says NWAC President Dawn Harvard. “We recognize and support Indigenous Peoples’ right to control and protect their intellectual property including traditional knowledge, cultural practices, and arts, as per Article 31. 1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

“CIHR is proud to support NWAC,” says Dr. Malcolm King, Scientific Director of CIHR-Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health. “Their collaborative efforts as a PEKE ensure that research conducted by CIHR-funded scientists in the four priority research areas of the Pathways signature initiative can be adopted by Indigenous communities by being respectful of Indigenous culture and ways of knowing. This will, in turn, lead to a healthier future for Indigenous women and families across Canada.”

 

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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CONTACT:

Dan Peters
Senior Operations Manager
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC President Meets with Canada’s Premiers and Indigenous Leaders at Biannual COF Meeting

July 22, 2016 (Whitehorse, Yukon) – On behalf of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, President Lavell-Harvard met with Canada’s Premiers and Indigenous Leaders on July 20 at the biannual Council of the Federation (COF) meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon.  Chaired by Yukon’s Premier Darrell Pasloski, this year’s meeting of the Council of the Federation, from July 20-22, is the first COF meeting to be held in Canada’s North.

The first day of the Council of the Federation meeting was for collaborative, multilateral discussions with Indigenous leaders, in the spirit of reconciliation.  The Premiers and Indigenous leaders also had the opportunity to participate in cultural activities at Haines Junction, Yukon, organized by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations peoples.

President Lavell-Harvard at the 2016 COF Meeting's press conference.
President Lavell-Harvard at the 2016 COF Meeting’s press conference.

“ This gathering has consistently been supportive of the issues that have been concern to Indigenous women in Canada. It was out of the previous Council of the Federation meetings that the Premiers stated their commitment to a National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.  We find these meetings to be respectful and productive,” President Dawn Lavell-Harvard said in her opening remarks.

The key points that came out of the session include:

  • Full support from all provinces and territories for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • A commitment to not delay actions by provinces and territories until after the National Inquiry is completed. Preventative action can be implemented now.
  • A collective focus on child welfare.
  • Ongoing discussion on economic development beneficial to Indigenous communities.
  • A commitment for the provinces and territories to meet annually with Indigenous leaders.
President Lavell-Harvard addresses the press regarding the crisis of the child welfare system.
President Lavell-Harvard addresses the press regarding the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“The Native Women’s Association of Canada is looking forward to focusing our collective attention to the issue of child welfare.  We continue to have a disproportionate number of children in the child welfare system. As Indigenous women we know there are better ways to support families so that Indigenous families can care for our children,” commented President Lavell-Harvard.

At this meeting, Premiers from all thirteen of Canada’s provinces and territories, joined leaders from the five National Indigenous Organizations, namely the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Indigenous People’s Assembly of Canada (IPAC), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and the Métis National Council (MNC).

The Council of the Federation was established in 2003 as part of the provinces’ and territories’ need to foster a constructive relationship and strengthen the Canadian federation. Its purpose is to promote interprovincial-territorial cooperation, based on a mutual recognition of the diversity within Canada, and to develop collaborative relationships between the Premiers on a number of significant issues such as healthcare, economic growth or trade.

 

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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CONTACT:

Dan Peters
Senior Operations Manager
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Will Not Comment on the Recent Leak of MMIWG Inquiry’s Draft Terms of Reference

July 20, 2016 (Whitehorse, Yukon) – The Native Women’s Association will not be commenting on the recent leak of the draft Terms of Reference for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. As negotiations are still ongoing between the federal government and the provincial/territorial governments, it would not be productive to comment on a draft Terms of Reference leaked yesterday by several media outlets.

President Lavell-Harvard said, “We at the Native Women’s Association are disappointed that this important document has been leaked ahead of the official launch of the National Inquiry. Commenting at this point would be premature and it would undermine a respectful process for the survivors, families, and loved ones of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

President Lavell-Harvard was in meetings at the Council of Federations on Wednesday with the Premiers from all the provinces and territories and other national Indigenous leaders.  All members of the Council reaffirmed their commitment to see the Inquiry move forward in a timely manner.

NWAC is looking forward to providing our comments on the final Terms of Reference at the official launch of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

 

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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CONTACT:

Dan Peters
Senior Operations Manager
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

Please follow and like us:
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