NWAC Welcomes ON Government’s New Long-Term Strategy to Curb VAIWG

STATEMENT

 

NWAC Welcomes Ontario Government’s New Long-Term Strategy to Curb Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls

 

(February 24, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― Yesterday, the Government of Ontario  announced a new long-term strategy and investment called Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women. The strategy outlines actions to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls and to reduce its impact on youth, families and communities. Its ultimate goal is to work toward ending violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) welcomes this new strategy and the leadership of Premier Kathleen Wynne, and trusts that NWAC and our provincial affiliate; the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) will be regularly consulted through the course of this long-term strategy.

President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Ph.D., has issued the following statement in response to this new strategy from the Ontario government:

“Despite our strength and incredible resilience, Indigenous women and girls are subject to blatant systemic oppression and discrimination. To that end, NWAC is hopeful that with this new strategy on the part of the Ontario government ―in tandem with the ongoing national inquiry on the national level― we will begin to see a reduction in violence, fewer missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, less sexism and racism against us, and a more realistic public awareness around the strength and resilience of our women and girls; because we are not vulnerable victims. To the contrary: we are strong, and we deserve respect.”

 

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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MEDIA REQUESTS:

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-722.3033 ext. 235
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)
jjefferys@nwac.ca

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3RD ANNUAL AWBEN CONFERENCE ― FEB 25 IN TORONTO

The Indigenous women’s entrepreneurial event of the year is coming up FAST! Join us February 25 in downtown Toronto for a FREE conference featuring Indigenous business experts from across Canada, who are looking forward to sharing their business insights with you.

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Symposium Releases 22 Recommendations for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

PRESS RELEASE  //  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Symposium Hosted by NWAC and FAFIA Releases 22 Recommendations for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIWG)

 

(February 17, 2016) (Ottawa, ON, Canada) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), and the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (CJWL) hosted an historic Symposium to discuss the design of the national inquiry into murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls on January 30 and 31, 2016 in Ottawa.

This two-day Symposium (titled Murders and Disappearances of Indigenous Women and Girls: Planning for Change – Towards a National Inquiry and an Effective National Action Plan) brought together international human rights experts from the United Nations and the Inter‑American Commission on Human Rights, the White House Advisor on violence against women, Indigenous women leaders, family members, and grassroots feminist activists from across Canada.

From the Symposium’s deliberations emerged 22 recommendations regarding the design of the long-awaited national inquiry – each of which is imperative in order to ensure a fulsome, pragmatic, objective, and ultimately, successful outcome for this national inquiry.

The 22 inquiry recommendations set out the need for:

  • a clear focus on gendered and racialized violence against Indigenous women and girls;
  • the critical importance of addressing the harms to family members caused by the violence and of supporting family members through redress, healing, ceremony, memorialization, and compensation;
  • clarifying at the outset that the inquiry is national in scope and will include scrutiny of conduct and policies in federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions;
  • including examination of 1) failures in policing and the justice system and 2) the underlying social and economic inequality of Indigenous women and girls that permits and perpetuates the violence.
  • Establishing a human rights framework for the inquiry, that will ensure that recommendations already made by the United Nations and the Inter‑American Commission are implemented, and that proposed solutions are measured against human rights standards.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada said: “Gendered, sexualized and racialized violence against Indigenous women and girls violates our commitments to equality and causes lasting inter-generational harm to families, communities. These 22 recommendations establish the measures necessary to address this crisis effectively and to begin to reverse the cycle of violence.”

 

ACCESS FULL SYMPOSIUM OUTCOME DOCUMENT WITH 22 RECOMMENDATIONS HERE

 

 

QUOTES

 

“The Western patriarchal paradigm paints Indigenous women as vulnerable; unworthy of value or respect. We know better. We know that we as lifegivers are strong, resilient, and capable of great things. This document is proof of that. It’s time to move forward – out of the darkness and into the light. The road ahead will be grueling, but it is nothing we can’t handle if we remain focused and committed to our overarching purpose: bringing justice to our women and girls.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

“It is essential that the national inquiry have a human rights framework. Canada needs to implement, and then build on, the recommendations from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Inter‑American Commission on Human Rights. We need to ensure that the national plan that emerges from the inquiry will move us towards fulfilling the rights of Indigenous women and girls and meet the obligations of Canadian governments.”
―Shelagh Day, Chair, Human Rights Committee, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA)

 

“The Symposium identified the crux of this issue – that equality will never be achieved until gendered, racialized and sexualized violence against Indigenous women and girls as perpetrated by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men, and by representatives of the state, is stopped. That requires action by all levels of government in Canada.”
―Angela Cameron, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at University of Ottawa and board member for the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA)

 
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For more information or for media inquiries, please contact:
Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
jjefferys@nwac.ca
+1 613-722-3033 ext. 235
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)

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NWAC Stands with Downtown Eastside Today During 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March

NWAC Stands with Downtown Eastside Today During 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March


(February 14, 2016) (Ottawa, ON/Vancouver, BC)
― Today, for the 26th consecutive year, the Annual Women’s Memorial March for missing and murdered Indigenous women took place on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This march is held to honour the memory of all those who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence in the region.

The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia has seen some of the most horrific violence against Indigenous women and girls in the country. As a result of police inaction, racism, sexism, poverty and socio-economic structures which continue to disproportionately disadvantage Indigenous women and girls, the Downtown Eastside has seen more than 100 Indigenous women murdered. This is unacceptable.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says: “Twenty-six years ago, rather than succumbing to grief, grassroots feminist activists boldly took to the streets to honour these stolen sisters from the Downtown Eastside. Today, we will continue to march on in a way that only Indigenous women can. NWAC is proud to stand with you. Thank you for your unwavering grace and strength amid this sorrow. My heart is with you.”

Nikki Fraser, Western Youth Representative for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says: “Today, both here in BC and across Canada, we must look to our Elders and our traditions, and refocus our efforts to end violence against our sisters. We must ensure that our daughters do not have to witness these tragedies reoccur.”

NWAC will continue to put pressure on the federal government to ensure the forthcoming national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women provides healing and justice to every region of this country where families are touched by these tragedies – the Downtown Eastside included.

NWAC’s thoughts and prayers are with the families (both within and beyond bloodlines) yearning for peace and reconciliation amid these tragedies. We hope that your hearts might know peace today. Together – we will achieve justice.

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 Nations, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women in Canada.

 
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For more information or for media inquiries:

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)
jjefferys@nwac.ca

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Nikki Fraser, Western Regional Youth Representative for NWAC, One of Ten Canadians Chosen by CBC to Interview the Prime Minister

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(January 31, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― Nikki Fraser is not your typical 25 year-old. She’s a mover and a shaker, a mother of two, an Indigenous woman from Tk’emlups Te Secwepemc (one of the 17 bands within the Secwepemc Nation) – and she’s our Regional Youth Representative for the West here at the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Between her story, her warmth and her tenacity, and her tireless commitment toward ending violence against Indigenous women and girls, Nikki caught our eye at NWAC long ago. Now, Nikki has also captured the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – and the entire country.

Nikki was invited to travel all the way from her home province of British Columbia to partake in CBC’s segment: “Face to Face with the Prime Minister” in Ottawa – which aired tonight (January 31, 2016) on The National.

Nikki was one of ten Canadians individually selected for this segment from across the country, for a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Nikki and the other nine individuals selected were given the opportunity to interview the Prime Minister on a topic of their choosing – and that topic for Nikki was missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Congratulations, Nikki!
QUOTES

 

“I do this work in honour of my Aunty Dorothy and my cousin Samantha, and the other beautiful Indigenous women and girls stolen from our nation. Despite the harsh reality that I and so many other young Indigenous ladies live, I will continue to honour them and seek justice.”
-Nikki Fraser, NWAC Regional Youth Representative for Western Canada

“Nikki has an incomparable energy about her. We are so grateful to have her, and so proud of her for fearlessly bringing this issue directly before the Prime Minister. Everyone at NWAC applauds you Nikki for your bravery and unwavering commitment to the cause. You are an inspiration to women and girls everywhere – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.”
-Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of 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. To make a donation to NWAC, please visit nwac.ca.

 

 

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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

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