National Voice of Indigenous Women Silenced at Federal Level

September 8, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has not received an invitation to attend the First Ministers’ Meeting announced on September 7th, 2017.  “The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada is continuing a nation-to-nation approach that deliberately excludes Indigenous women’s perspectives on decisions affecting their lives,” stated NWAC President Francyne D. Joe.

The First Ministers’ Meeting on October 3rd will address the implementation of the Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and sustainable economic growth. It has been documented that climate change has the biggest impact on those living in poverty, a group in which Indigenous women and children are overly represented.  When Indigenous people are displaced from land through colonization, climate change, and pollution, they are impacted mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There is a profound impact on maternal health, economic security, and the ability to share cultural knowledge across generations.

“In order to recognize the value of Indigenous women and their communities, advance Indigenous rights, and combat gender inequality, Indigenous women must be involved in emergency planning, environmental sustainability, and climate change discussions,”elaborated Joe.

“This model for renewed relationships ignores the critical need for a gendered lens in decision-making. It devalues Indigenous women’s roles as equal representatives for their people and silences NWAC as the representative body that Indigenous women have established to advocate on their behalf at the national level.”

NWAC was excluded from the First Ministers’ Meetings held in March of 2016 and on December 9th, 2016, as well as a high-level reconciliation meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office on December 8th, 2016.  “The existing nation-to-nation framework fails to decolonize Canada’s relationship with Indigenous women,” emphasizes Executive Director Lynne Groulx.  “When our perspectives are ignored the government perpetuates structural inequality against all Indigenous women. It places Indigenous women as a secondary priority.”

“Indigenous women are strong, resilient, and deserve to speak for themselves and set priorities at the highest level. Our message to Prime Minister Trudeau is that nation building and reconciliation are Indigenous women’s issues,” concluded Joe.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-277-8831
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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