July 19, 2017 (Edmonton, AB) – Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) President Francyne D. Joe addressed the Council of Federation (COF) on Monday regarding the importance of including NWAC in all Nation-to-Nation discussions, the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry) in the scope of improving the socio-economic status of Indigenous women, and the need for a community-based prevention model to drive the child welfare system in all regions.
Hosted by Premier Rachel Notley, the Council of Federation includes all 13 provincial and territorial premiers and meets bi-annually and usually includes five National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs) in the summer meeting.
President Joe recommended that provinces and territories engage and support Indigenous women and the organizations advocating for them, using the support that Kathleen Wynne has provided to the Ontario Native Women’s Association as an example. “The creation of permanent bilateral mechanisms between the Office of the Prime Minister and 3 of the NIOs recognizes racial discrimination as distinct but does not include a gendered lens,” said Joe. “The marginalization of Indigenous women from the national discourse can be remedied on a provincial and territorial level through mindful action such as supporting our Provincial and Territorial Membership Associations (PMTAs); we’ve now offered to facilitate the forging of these alliances.”
NWAC identified the need to engage First Nations and Metis women on the grassroots level in order to better understand their distinct priorities and generate strong outcome measurements for the socio-economic empowerment of Indigenous women. “Women, girls, transgender, and Two-Spirit Indigenous people need to be free from the disproportionate threat of violence in order to achieve equality,” stated Joe. “This is one of the ways in which the recommendations of the National Inquiry will support socio-economic advancement.”
Urging action on the dire crisis within the child welfare system, Joe provided the following message during a post-meeting press conference on Monday. “We need to support Cindy Blackstock and Jordan’s Principle. We do hope to have more support from the Premiers at some point so we can ensure that this government follows through [on delivering] equity for our children.”
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