PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Announces the Winners of the 2016 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award

September 30, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award. This bursary assists Indigenous women who are enrolled in post-secondary law studies or justice-related studies, and who are committed to the political, social, economic, and cultural advancement of Indigenous women, their families, and their communities.

The Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award was made available through the generous donations of Helen Bassett, who was an active supporter of equal rights for Aboriginal peoples and women. Ms. Bassett’s wish was for funds to be used for post-secondary student awards, and more specifically for Indigenous women pursuing law careers.

 

NORTH
Samantha Lee Dawson
Whitehorse, YT

img_5935
Samantha Lee Dawson is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.            Photo credit: Red Works Photography

 

 

 

Samantha Lee Dawson is a member of the Selkirk First Nation and was born and raised in her traditional territory in the Yukon. She is currently in her third year at the University of British Columbia Law School where she will be graduating next year with specialization in Aboriginal law and Social Justice. She will be spending her articling year in the area of criminal defence while also involving herself with the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Circle (YAWC), one of NWAC’s Territorial Member Associations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUTH
Alana Robert
Winnipeg, MB

Alana Robert is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.
Alana Robert is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.

 

 

Alana Robert is from the Manitoba Métis Nation, and is pursuing her Juris Doctor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. She founded Justice For Women, which strives to eliminate gender-based violence through advocacy, education, and support. Through this work, Alana has led campaigns raising awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, while also making changes in her community at the University of Manitoba, where she created Consent Culture Workshops, a policy that requires this training for student leaders, and a Self-Care and Sexual Violence Resource Centre for students.

 

 

 

 

 

WEST
Leanna Gruendel
Victoria, BC

Leanna Gruendel is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.
Leanna Gruendel is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.

 

 

Leanna Gruendel is a Cree woman in her first year of the J.D. program at the University of Victoria Law School. She plans on focusing her degree on Aboriginal Law and Human Rights Law, and hopes to work towards improving justice services for Indigenous women. In her spare time, Leanna enjoys practicing photography and volunteering at her local Friendship Centre. Leanna is incredibly honoured to have been selected as a recipient of the 2016 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EAST
Ashtyn McLean
St. George, NL

Ashtyn McLean is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.
Ashtyn McLean is a 2016 Helen Bassett Student Award winner.

 

 

Ashtyn McLean is Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations woman completing her Bachelor of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Upon completion of her degree, Ashtyn is interested in working in the field of gerontology. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends and taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and spending time at the family cabin.

 

 

 

 

NWAC wishes to congratulate the four winners on their success and offers special thanks to all who applied. In addition, NWAC wishes success to all students as they enter into a new school year this fall.

 

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.

-30-

 

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:

PRESS RELEASE: Indigenous Women, Elders, Youth Gather for NWAC’s 42nd Annual General Assembly

September 27, 2016 (Gatineau, Quebec) – Over seventy Indigenous women leaders from across the country, along with 40 observers and guests, gathered for the 42nd Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) on the unceded Algonquin territory of Gatineau, Quebec on September 24th-25th, 2016.  The NWAC assembly recognized that this is a critical time as the federal government works to fulfill a number of commitments with Indigenous peoples, including the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The gathering took the time to discuss a number of key issues that are of deep concern to Indigenous women in this country.

Minister Catherine McKenna speaking during NWAC's 42nd Annual General Assembly.
Minister Catherine McKenna speaking during NWAC’s 42nd Annual General Assembly.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, led off a critical discussion on balancing the responsibilities of environmental stewardship with economic development.  A number of the delegates described specific situations in their provinces and territories that are directly compromising the water and land in their communities and the ability to live on the land.  The Minister was invited to consider engaging Indigenous knowledge to not only inform but guide their work around climate change and economic development.

Michèle Audette, National Inquiry Commissioner and former NWAC President, provided an update and received best wishes for her work.  Concerns were also expressed as the Inquiry is not yet up and running and has only a two-year mandate.

MMIWG Inquiry Commissioner Michèle Audette speaking during the NWAC AGA.
MMIWG Inquiry Commissioner Michèle Audette speaking during the NWAC AGA.

Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and National Chief Dwight Dorey from the Indigenous Peoples’ Assembly of Canada, offered their greetings and provided some interesting points on where Indigenous women are positioned in federal priorities.  The federal government has committed to UNDRIP which states that Indigenous women have the right to choose their own representative bodies to speak for them. Recently NWAC has not been invited to certain federal consultations including the session on Climate Change and the Environment planned for this week where three National Indigenous Organizations will be in attendance. The question was posed, is it being assumed that Indigenous women are being represented by the AFN, Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapariit Kanatami at this time?  If so, that is not a sound or accurate assumption.

President Francyne Joe, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, and former President Dawn Lavell-Harvard.
Interim President Francyne Joe, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, and former President Dawn Lavell-Harvard.

One of the most powerful moments of the weekend was a speech by Willow Hill who described the broken child welfare system from her own lived experience. Her story and strength was a reminder of the resiliency and strength of Indigenous women. The delegation made a commitment to work on addressing child welfare as a system that hurts Indigenous children and families, including supporting Cindy Blackstock and the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society in their initiatives.

Cora Lee McGuire closed the gathering with a powerful success story of the work done by the Ontario Native Women’s Association to secure $100 million for ending violence against Indigenous women in the next three years.    The final message was from a British Columbia delegate who symbolized the strength of Indigenous women to deal with the immediate needs while working to transform the system. She called on each woman to step up and foster Indigenous children while we reconstitute a child welfare system that supports Indigenous children, women, families and communities.

The delegation was also in a consultation on Monday, September 26 to discuss sex discrimination in the Indian  Act and specifically the Descheneaux case.

 

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.

-30-

 

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 223
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

Please follow and like us:

PRESS RELEASE: Former BCNWA President Francyne Joe Appointed New Interim President of NWAC

September 25, 2016 (Gatineau, QC) – It is a pleasure to announce that former President of the BC Native Women’s Association, Francyne Joe, was appointed the new President of the Native Women’s Association yesterday at NWAC’s 42nd Annual General Assembly in Gatineau, Quebec.

Francyne Joe was appointed interim President of NWAC after the former President, Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, submitted her resignation after over a year of serving as President and three years of serving as Vice President of NWAC.

Francyne Joe accepting the interim Presidency of the Native Women's Association of Canada.
Francyne Joe accepting the interim Presidency of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

“It is an honour and a privilege to accept the esteemed position of President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. I look forward to working closely with our federal, provincial, territorial and community partners to work toward the political, social, economic, and cultural advancement of Indigenous women, their families, and their communities,” said President Francyne Joe.

President Francyne Joe of NWAC.
President Francyne Joe of NWAC.

Through involvement in various community organizations, President Joe has always been committed to empowering Indigenous women and girls. As president of BC Native Women’s Association, she accessed funding for education and career development; advocated with families for a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and fostered partnerships with BC Aboriginal agencies to address issues pertaining to Indigenous peoples, their families, and their communities.

Passionate about employment law as it applies to discrimination and harassment prevention, and wage equity, President Joe worked with the Human Resources Management Association to educate professionals working for Aboriginal communities. At All Nations Trust, she worked with Aboriginal employers and employees to understand human resource management and to educate them, and community members, on pension and group benefits in an effort to improve both community health and financial management.

A proud member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, President Joe calls Lower Nicola reserve her home where she was raised by her grandparents while her mother worked to provide for them. Raised in a family and First Nations community with strong ethics and traditional beliefs, she grew up having a strong awareness of many issues that plague Indigenous communities from domestic violence, to unemployment, to lack of educational opportunities, to the systemic and institutional misogyny and racism in 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.

-30-

 

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 223
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

Please follow and like us:

PRESS RELEASE: Indigenous Artist Maxine Noel Honoured by NWAC

September 24, 2016 (Gatineau, QC) –  Indigenous artist Maxine Noel was honoured yesterday evening by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) at a private reception at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. Indigenous leaders and federal cabinet ministers came together this evening to honour Noel’s artistry and contributions to raising public awareness of the Canadian crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Her artwork Not Forgotten, which she gifted to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, will be loaned to the Canadian Museum of History for 5 years to be on public display. The painting will be presented in the Canadian History Hall, where it will help to tell the story of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. It is an art piece that includes symbolic images honouring murdered and missing Indigenous women from each of the four traditional directions – East, West, South, North.

Indigenous artist Maxine Noel speaking at the Canadian Museum of History.
Indigenous artist Maxine Noel speaking at the Canadian Museum of History.

Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda, along with President Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, and Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, extended their deepest gratitude and praise to the artist for her efforts in honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

 

President Lavell-Harvard thanking Maxine Noel for her efforts in raising awareness of MMIWG.
President Lavell-Harvard thanking Maxine Noel for her efforts in raising awareness of MMIWG.

 

Minister Carolyn Bennett, artist Maxine Noel, President Lavell-Harvard, Elder Claudette Commanda, and Mark O'Neill, President and CEO of Canadian Museum of History.
Minister Carolyn Bennett, artist Maxine Noel, President Lavell-Harvard, Elder Claudette Commanda, and Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of Canadian Museum of History.

“Every year the Canadian Museum of History welcomes millions of Canadians who come to learn about this land’s history, art, and cultures; as of today, those millions will be graced with the gift of Maxine Noel’s artwork Not Forgotten, an iconic piece that commemorates our missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Thank you, Maxine, for helping to bridge the information gap regarding the National crisis of our missing and murdered women through your beautiful artistry,” said President Lavell-Harvard.

A survivor of an Indian Residential school and a strong Indigenous woman, Maxine Noel was born in 1946 to Santee Oglala Sioux parents on the Birdtail Reserve in Manitoba. She was given the Sioux name “Ioyan Mani”, meaning “walk beyond”, which is the signature she uses on her artwork.

A self-taught artist, she first worked as a legal secretary in Edmonton and Toronto before devoting herself to her art full-time in 1979.

Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across Canada, including in the collections of the Canadian Museum of History, the University of Western Ontario, the Canadian Native Arts Foundation in Toronto and the Whetung Ojibwa Centre.

She has lectured and served on panels at the Saskatchewan School of Fine Arts, the University of Western Ontario and the native program at the Ontario College of Art.

 

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.

-30-

 

CONTACT:

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 223
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

Please follow and like us:

PRESS RELEASE: Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard Resigns as President of NWAC

September 23, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – We regret to announce the resignation of Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard as President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).   While Dawn was President of NWAC for only one year, her contribution to supporting Indigenous women across the country has been significant.

Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard will remain on NWAC’s Board of Directors as the President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA). She will fulfill her duties as President up until the end of this weekend’s 42nd Annual General Assembly, after which a newly elected President will take her place.

Dawn has been an advocate for over 20 years ago when she was first appointed to the Board of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. She has served as ONWA’s President for 11 years.

Dawn is leaving us for very personal reasons and with clear priorities.

Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard speaking at the announcement of the National Inquiry into MMIWG.
Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard speaking at the announcement of the National Inquiry into MMIWG.

“I am deeply committed to working towards the empowerment of Indigenous women and girls, but my top priority has always been my three young daughters. The toll of raising a young family, the long hours, and extensive travel required for this high-level position had begun to take an impact on myself and my family,” said Dr. Lavell-Harvard

Dr. Lavell-Harvard is looking forward to considering opportunities closer to home.

The Native Women’s Asssociation of Canada extends our best wishes and praise to Dr. Lavell-Harvard for her hard work and dedication to NWAC and in advocating for the rights of Indigenous women, their families and communities.

 

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.

-30-

 

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:
Share