December 6, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – On December 6th, 1989, 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal lost their lives at the hands of a lone gunman. Every year on this day, the nation recalls how the biased hatred of one man led to the senseless mass killing of innocent women. Sadly, this tragic event exposed the epidemic of gender-based violence in Canada.
“Today, we commemorate the women who were killed in Montreal for the sole fact that they were female students. It’s a day to consider our actions going forward but also a day to contemplate what we’ve accomplished so far,” reflected NWAC Interim President Francyne Joe.
In 2012, NWAC was gathering signatures demanding an inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, declaring it a “crucial step in implementing a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan to address the scale and severity of violence faced by Aboriginal women and girls.” In 2015, leadership expressed that NWAC was looking forward to working closely with the new government, continuing to consult with the families and survivors of those impacted, and taking action to end systemic violence against Indigenous women after the Liberal government announced that a national inquiry would be established.
“Looking back, I see that we haven’t come as far as we’d hoped. There was no justice delivered for the Indigenous women of Val-d’Or who were sexually assaulted and we once again need to establish an inquiry; this time in the province of Quebec,” began President Joe. “The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has failed to open the lines of communication with families or survivors of victims, we have limited involvement in the Inquiry, and we won’t begin to see movement from the Inquiry until the spring of 2017.”
“We will not be disheartened. We will continue to speak for victims suffering in silence, to root out systemic gender and race-based violence at the source by challenging problematic policies, and to engage in education initiatives that will prepare all youth to treat each other with dignity and respect,” Francyne 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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