PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Congratulates the 3 winners of the Canadian Hillman Prize for their work on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

(April 25, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada wishes to congratulate CBC Aboriginal/CBC News, Radio-Canada and the Globe and Mail for winning the 2016 Canadian Hillman Prize.

CBC Aboriginal and CBC News, through an exhaustive process of interviewing, researching and investigating over 60 years of cases, has created a database of MMIWG.  In this interactive database there are 230 missing women and girls with features that provide deep insight into the women’s lives and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance or murder. Due to their actions new evidence has been uncovered leading to the RCMP and the Winnipeg Police reopening cold cases.

Radio-Canada investigated cases of women who were treated horrifically by Val d’Or police officers – where sources described starlight tours where they would drop women off far out of town, violence, abuse, prostitution, sexual abuse, even rape. The women’s complaints to the police ethic board went unanswered. Eventually numerous changes for the positive occurred as a result of Radio-Canada’s investigation.

The Globe and Mail uncovered more than 250 unidentified human remains not in an RCMP-managed database, investigated Manitoba’s emergency child-welfare program, and revealed that Indigenous women are roughly seven times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be victims of a serial killer. The project featured a unique interactive feature that traced the lives of five Indigenous women slain by serial predators, exposing the social factors that rendered the victims vulnerable.

NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard said:

“Congratulations to everyone involved on receiving the Hillman Prize. Your words and images were weaved into powerful stories and helped NWAC get our longstanding message out, regarding the need for a National Inquiry for MMIWG.”

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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249

dpeters@nwac.ca

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NWAC Proposes Three Iconic Indigenous Women for Next Bank of Canada Note

 

 

(April 15, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The staff and board of the Native Women’s Association of Canada have collectively determined names of three late iconic Indigenous women to put forward for the open nomination process to add a woman to the next Bank of Canada note.

As the voice of Indigenous women in Canada, NWAC feels that it is our duty to celebrate the powerfully influential role Indigenous women play in our collective history. By showcasing any of the following incredible women, not only would the Bank of Canada be taking a strong step toward reconciliation, this department would be joining our communities in embracing the leadership and resilience of our women.

 

The three women NWAC has selected for submission to the Bank of Canada include:

 

1. E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913):
Emily Pauline Johnson (Mohawk name: Tekahionwake) was a Mohawk woman from the Six Nations Reserve of Grand River in Ontario. She made a name for herself in the arts as a celebrated writer, poet and performer. Johnson’s work has been published and received wide acclamation across Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

2. Annie Mae Aquash (1945-1975)
Annie Mae Aquash (Mi’kmaq name: Naguset Eask) was a Mi’kmaq woman from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. An unwavering advocate for Indigenous empowerment and sovereignty, Aquash was a lifelong activist in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s.

3. Shannen Koostachin (1995-2010)
Shannen Koostachin was a fearless, young Cree activist from Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario. Shannen’s Dream is a Canadian youth-driven movement advocating for equitable education funding for First Nations children that was born out of Koostachin’s activism. Though she does not technically fit the criteria for submission given her untimely passing only 6 years ago, it is NWAC’s belief that Shannen’s spirit, influence and activism have more than earned her a place as a contender.

 

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 Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

 

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QUOTE:

“In different respective ways, each of these individuals embodies what is so beautiful and powerful about Indigenous women. It is my sincere hope that the Bank of Canada take these impressive women into consideration for the next Bank of Canada note.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

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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NWAC Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Regarding Métis and Non-Status Indigenous Peoples

(April 14, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) welcomes today’s landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision and views it as an historic day for the rights of Indigenous people.  We welcome this decision because many of our people have been pushed out of our communities as a result of technicalities and were never afforded the status and rights that come with being an Indigenous person.

Some Indigenous women who married non-Indigenous men lost their status and were given opportunities through Bill C-31 but were never allowed membership into their Bands.  Historically and even today non-status and Métis women and their children are some of the most disadvantaged people in Canada.  NWAC is optimistic this is a first step on the long road to achieving a better life for all our people and eventually eradicating the pervasive poverty.

QUOTE:

“Today is a good day for Indigenous women and their children in Canada. NWAC have always supported Métis and non-status Indigenous women and children and was a founding goal of NWAC’s, which makes this decision all the more significant to NWAC.  NWAC will continue to support this decision and work to ensure that benefits flow to Indigenous women and children who are the beneficiaries of this decision.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

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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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NWAC and FAFIA to Address Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on MMIWG

 

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(April 6, 2016) (Washington, DC) – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold a critical hearing following up on its January 2015 report, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia. The hearing will be held, on April 7, 2016 at 3:15 p.m. Eastern in Washington, D.C., and will serve as an opportunity for members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to engage in open dialogue with Canadian officials on what progress has been made on the implementation of the IACHR’s recommendations.

Representatives from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) will deliver a joint presentation to the Commission during this hearing. Speakers will be Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of NWAC;  Sharon McIvor, FAFIA Human Rights Committee Member; and Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA.

This hearing can we streamed online at the IACHR website: http://original.livestream.com/oasenglish2
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded in 1974 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. NWAC is widely recognized as the National voice of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and was instrumental in bringing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada to light. Visit us at nwac.ca or follow us at @NWAC_CA.

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women’s organizations founded following the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. FAFIA’s central goal is to ensure that Canadian governments respect, protect and fulfill the commitments to women that they have made under international human rights treaties and agreements. Visit us at fafia-afai.org or follow us at @FAFIAAFAI.

 

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QUOTE:

“We know from our sisters on the ground in British Columbia, particularly on the Downtown Eastside, that a severe human rights crisis persists in this region resulting in the ongoing discrimination, violence and oppression of our women and girls. The IACHR’s report, released in December 2014, provided a robust framework and analysis toward the context in which Indigenous women and girls continue to go missing and be found murdered in British Columbia. With the national inquiry now underway, it is time for the federal and provincial governments to implement the recommendations found within this report. Violence against Indigenous women and girls must be stopped, and in order for this to happen we must heed recommendations from the international expert community.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

BACKGROUND:

The full IACHR report is available here: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/indigenous-women-bc-canada-en.pdf

NWAC and FAFIA’s history of engagement with the IACHR is available here: http://fafia-afai.org/en/solidarity-campaign/

 

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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2016 AWBEN GRANT WINNERS

ABORIGINAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP NEWORK AWBEN GRANT 2016 BACKGROUND

 In 2012 the Native Women’s Association of Canada launched the Aboriginal Woman’s Business Entrepreneurship Network (AWBEN) as part of the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within Canada. The vision of AWBEN is to:

  • provide a safe, supportive, collaborative, empowering and culturally supportive environment that addresses the unique challenges of female Aboriginal entrepreneurs and aspiring female Aboriginal entrepreneurs
  • enhance, develop and accelerate growth for current and aspiring female Aboriginal entrepreneurs in a sustainable way through programs and resources
  • promote Community leadership through volunteerism as a reflection of respect and reciprocity and will be paramount to the foundation of the Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network

The AWBEN Grant was launched in 2014 to assist Aboriginal women entrepreneurs to start up or advance their business. AWBEN would like to thank Women Who Rock for their financial contribution this year to the Native Women’s Association of Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement unit.

Each year, the Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network is honoured to present two grant opportunities to dynamic and deserving Indigenous women to assist them is starting up their own business.

Congratulations to our lucky winners!

The future is a rainbow of beautiful tomorrows when you hold a dream in your heart!

$2,000.00 Winner – Cassie Michell, Owner, Little Foot Advanced Foot Care

Essay excerpt:  My business name is Little Foot Advanced Foot Care, offering mobile Foot Care.  My family is from the Nlatka’pamux Nation and the community of Kanaka Bar Indian Band.  My main goal for this company will be to service Aboriginal communities throughout the Interior (B.C.) as there are often limited health services available.  I believe this is an opportunity to build a strong business, as well as maintain and educated on the importance of healthy feet.

In November of 2014, Cassie attended Advanced Foot Care for nurses through Vancouver Community College.  She graduated as a Licensed Practical Nurse in March 2010.  She has started her business offering mobile foot care to both clients in Kamloops, as well as in Aboriginal Communities throughout the Interior B.C.  She specializes in working with seniors and those with diabetes.

 

$1,000.00 Winner – June Kelly, Owner, Operator, Certified Herbalist, Up the Hill at Loakin Herbal Products

Essay excerpt:  My business is named in honour of my parents.  As children we used to say, we were going Up the Hill when we went to the homesteads.  I remember this fondly and remember my heritage when I say the name of my Company.

June is a certified herbalist and graduated from the College of the Rockies, Herbal Practitioner program.  She has set up her business, Up the Hill at Loakin in her territory.  Her plan is to move her business to her homestead on Neskonilith Inidan Band and grow herbs to sell.

 

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NWAC Stands with Indigenous Women of Val D’Or; encourages all Survivors of Police Violence to Continue Coming Forward

(April 1, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has learned that there are more Indigenous women coming forward in the Val D’Or region of Quebec sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and other forms of gender and race-based violence at the hands of Quebec police.

Historically, all tiers of institutional protection services have inflicted violence on our peoples – particularly our women and girls. Racism and sexism lead directly to gender and race-based violence, which is simply unacceptable in any community, particularly at the hands of those who are trusted to protect and serve.

This developing case in Val D’Or is of deep concern to NWAC. Our organization condemns all forms of violence against our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers, and seeks to express our sincere gratitude for the brave survivors who have come forward with these stories.

NWAC is hopeful that survivors of this violence will continue to come forward if and when they feel comfortable doing so. It is only through shining light on these horrific and unacceptable injustices that we will be able to reveal systemic discrimination, and move toward concrete solutions.

To all survivors: we stand with you.

QUOTE

“I am deeply concerned with the allegations coming out of Val D’Or, but not the least bit surprised. We know that violence has been inflicted on our women and girls at the hands of authorities both physically, sexually and institutionally for decades. I am hopeful that through shining light in these dark places, we will one day see justice. Violence against Indigenous woman and girls must stop.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

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MEDIA CONTACT:

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

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