We Believe You; NWAC Stands With The Sisters of Val-d’Or at the Human Rights Monument Tuesday

November 21, 2016 (Ottawa, ON)  The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling on all partners and concerned citizens to join them in recognizing the tragic outcome of the complaints filed by Indigenous women in Val-d’Or and other rural regions against members of the Quebec police force.  In support of these women and Quebec Native Women Inc. (QNW), this event is dedicated to raising awareness of systemic violence against Indigenous women, demonstrating support for the brave women who came forward with their allegations of abuse, and addressing the issue of police accountability.  

What: We Believe You; Standing With The Sisters of Val-d’Or

When: 6:00pm Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Where: The Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario

After media attention was brought to a number of complaints regarding sexual violence and abuse of power by Quebec police officers in Val-d’Or and other rural regions in October of 2015, an investigation failed to produce any charges.  The Crown has cited a lack of evidence as the reason for this disappointing outcome.  

A recently released report by the United Nations (UN) has urged Canada to address the “continued high prevalence” of gender-based violence, with special regard to that against Indigenous women and girls.   A “very low” number of cases involving violence against women combined with low rates of prosecution and conviction against perpetrators are systemic failures identified by the UN as being specific to Canada. Failures to press charges after abuses are reported, as seen in Val-d’Or, are exemplary of why women aren’t coming forward.

“If you can’t go to police expecting to be protected, that’s going to lead to such despair and depression and anger … and disrupt any growing positive relationship with the policing system,” said NWAC President Francyne Joe on the subject of Val-d’Or and its greater scope.

NWAC will host speakers including NWAC President Francyne Joe and Executive Director Lynne Groulx .  A mirror event will be hosted by Quebec Native Women Inc. (QNW) in Montreal. Viviane Michel, President of Quebec Native Women, said this week “We issue a message to the Quebec population to believe these women.  Show these women, these victims, that there is someone, somewhere, who believes them.”

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:

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

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC President Francyne Joe Represents Indigenous Women on Environment and Climate Change Panel

November 20, 2016 (Marrakech, MA) – Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) President Francyne Joe continues to represent the voice of First Nations women at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference in Morocco, the site of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Hosted by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, Francyne Joe spoke at Tuesday’s Environment and Climate Change panel Working Together: The Contributions of Indigenous Communities in Canada’s Climate Action.  Joe highlighted the role that Indigenous women have historically held as stewards of the land, passing down knowledge to future generations through ceremony and storytelling, and how the Indian Act has threatened these traditions.

As a vulnerable population who are dependent upon a close relationship with the land and the water, she described how indigenous women are the most likely to become “climate refugees” as the results of climate change like flooding deeply impact their communities.  Joe suggested that the most immediate contributions necessary include improvements to housing and infrastructure, emergency and contingency planning, and actions for providing food security and clean water.

“Consulting First Nations women before initiating intensive energy development projects such as oil and gas extraction, coal mining, and hydroelectric development is necessary to protect First Nations environments and reduce the risk of violence against women” Joe averred, referencing Amnesty International’s recently published report regarding how the resource extraction economy in northeast British Columbia negatively affects the rights of Indigenous peoples.

This year marked the first Climate Justice Day, a United Nations side event dedicated to recognizing the deep impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples, the relationship between climate change and human rights, and the urgent need for governments to consult with Indigenous communities about these issues.

“As representatives of Indigenous women and girls, NWAC recognizes that climate change is affecting the daily lives of Indigenous women, destroying communities, and forcing peoples to abandon cultural traditions that are so strongly tied to the land, water, plants, and animals,” Joe concluded.

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:

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

 

 

 

 

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Failure of Authorities to Press Charges Against Officers Accused of Sexual Abuse in Val-d’Or Exemplifies Systemic Violence Inflicted Upon Indigenous Women

November 16, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – After  voicing their support of the brave Indigenous women of the Val d’Or region who came forward with their disturbing stories of abuse by Quebec police, it is with great sadness that the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) acknowledges that six of the officers under investigation will not be charged.  

Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête brought media attention to a number of complaints regarding abuse and sexual assault by police officers in the Val d’Or region in October of 2015.  After hearing that they weren’t alone in their dehumanizing and debasing experiences, more Indigenous women with similar stories of their mistreatment dating back as many as ten years stepped forward to generate a total of 37 complaints.  It’s the lack of evidence in those cases as well as more recent ones that the Crown prosecutors are citing as the reasons for not pressing charges against the officers who were allegedly involved.  

Now, the positive outcome of having so many women speak their truths and inspire others to do the same has become yet another story of the marginalization and disenfranchisement of Indigenous women.  Lack of faith in the authorities’ fair treatment of Indigenous people, fear of humiliation, and a culture of silence are vital pieces in the perpetual cycle of violence that Indigenous women experience.

“Our organization condemns all forms of violence against our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers, and seeks to express our continued support of these and all brave survivors for whom justice has not been served,” says NWAC President Francyne Joe.  “This appallingly inadequate response to women’s cries for help in this unfolding of events exemplifies the need for an immediate address of the strained relationship between the authorities and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis even beyond the slow-moving inquiry into the 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:

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

Please follow and like us: