August 23, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada honours and applauds Gord Downie, the lead singer in Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, for bringing widespread public attention to the injustices faced by Indigenous communities during the band’s final concert on August 20, 2016 in Kingston, ON. An audience of millions listened and watched as Downie applied public pressure to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take action on addressing Canada’s painful relationship with Indigenous peoples, as he promised after last year’s election.
“Our deepest gratitude and praise go out to The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie. Having the eyes and ears of the nation and using that to bring much needed scrutiny of the Government of Canada’s past negligence regarding the injustices and inequities faced by Indigenous communities across Canada is truly honourable,” said President Lavell-Harvard.
Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in May of this year, the Canadian rock icon has been a beloved artist and long-time activist for decades. Downie’s commitment to the plight of Indigenous peoples includes serving on the board of environmental group Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, performing concerts near Indigenous communities at James Bay, and recording a song named for Attawapiskat, a northern Ontario First Nations community.
With support from social conscious Canadian artists such as Gord Downie or First Nations visual artist Maxine Noel, a truly renewed, reconciled relationship can be realized between Indigenous peoples and the Government of Canada – but only if it addresses the gender-based issues as well.
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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