International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

November 25, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) continues to call for an end to all racialized and gender-based violence against Indigenous women.

Now in its 18th year since being formally designated by the United Nations General Assembly, the day aims to raise public awareness and mobilize activists on the issue of violence against women, and leads into the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.  This year’s theme, “Leave No One Behind”, is a call to ensure the most marginalized women are included in commitments to end gender-based violence.

Indigenous women in Canada are disproportionately represented among victims of violence, and in 2016, the homicide rate for Indigenous females was five times that of non-Aboriginal females.  This disturbing reality is rooted in Canada’s legacy of racism and colonialism, and is currently under investigation by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Established in 1974, NWAC advocates tirelessly to eliminate violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada through legislative reform, policy development, and impacting government priorities. NWAC’s Violence Prevention and Safety Unit develops and delivers a range of programs and resources designed for survivors, families, and communities, including Project PEACE, Sisters In Spirit, and You Are Not Alone.

NWAC will continue its efforts to raise awareness about violence against Indigenous women and girls, MMIWG2S, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and incarcerated Indigenous women. To learn more and to access resources, please visit nwac.ca.

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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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NWAC Observes the Trans Day of Remembrance

On November 20, 2017, NWAC remembers and honours the trans and Two-Spirited Indigenous women victimized and killed as a result of transphobic and racial violence.  On this day of remembrance, we also look forward by committing to establishing a renewed relationship with trans, non-binary, and queer- identifying Indigenous women.

As a group that exists at the intersections of queer and/or transphobia as well as colonial racism, members of the Indigenous LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirited communities are disproportionately impacted by violence. Marginalization dramatically decreases both the availability and accessibility of supports and services, meaning that Indigenous people who are trans also face additional obstacles to accessing basic services such as healthcare, housing, and employment.  This is particularly true for Indigenous youth.

Discussing these issues and creating safe spaces for trans and Two-Spirited Indigenous women means applying an intersectional lens to our advocacy work. In addition to being integral to decolonizing, NWAC sees this work as part of its mandate to advance the human rights of Indigenous women and girls. We also see the importance of undertaking work to educate ourselves and others on the ways we may unknowingly negatively impact gender-diverse, queer, and/or Two-Spirit individuals.

NWAC recognizes that by not responding to the gender diversity within our community, we risk replicating oppression.  As such, NWAC is in the process of designing an engagement framework that will help us begin to understand the specific issues impacting queer and non-binary Indigenous women.  This engagement will reflect NWAC’s responsibility and renewed commitment to responding to the needs of gender-diverse Indigenous women in a way that is trauma-informed and culturally-appropriate.

This Trans Day of Remembrance, NWAC honours and celebrates the Indigenous trans women in our communities, and all survivors of violence.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 22

lgroulx@nwac.ca

 

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NWAC Responds to Latest Version of Bill S-3

November 9, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – Following months of volleying between the Senate and the House of
Commons and through the tireless lobbying efforts of Indigenous women and allies over the course of
decades, Indigenous women will have the same rights as Indigenous men to pass down status to their
children. NWAC supports the revised Bill S-3 (An Act to Eliminate Sex-Based Discrimination in the Indian
Act) as tabled by Senator Peter Harder in the Senate on November 7, 2017, and is pleased to see
amendments that go further to eliminate sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act.

Bill S-3 is the Government of Canada’s response to the Descheneaux v. Canada decision, which found
the status registration sections within the Indian Act to be discriminatory towards women. The
Government has since missed several court-ordered deadlines to pass legislation that corrects the
injustice, and is facing down a final deadline set for December 22.

Senator Harder (the Liberal Government’s representative in the Senate) tabled a revised version of Bill S-
3 in the Senate on Tuesday. The revised Bill would bring the Act into Charter compliance as well as
address several contradictions contained in previous versions of the Bill. The legislation also includes a
comprehensive reporting clause that will be an important tool for advocates, parliamentarians, and
senators to hold the Government of Canada to its commitments to Indigenous women.

A point of concern in the revised Bill is that removal of the pre-1951 cut-off will only take place after a
consultation with communities to determine how they will be impacted by new registrants and prepare
accordingly. Ideally, NWAC would like more clarity around when, precisely, these amendments will
benefit women born prior to 1951. However, we are encouraged that the discussion will not be around
whether to accord women impacted by this cut-off these rights, but about how and when to do this in a
way that respects the rights of communities and fulfills the Government of Canada’s duty to consult.

NWAC remains concerned that the “No Liability” clause has remained in the legislation, hindering
Indigenous women’s access to justice and Charter damages. NWAC raised this issue in testimony to the
Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples in May 2017.

NWAC recognizes that more work remains to ensure that the pre-1951 cut-off is removed, as enshrined
in the legislation. NWAC is in the process of designing a comprehensive consultation process that will
allow us to elevate the voices of grassroots Indigenous women and communities and ensure their
stories are told. Through these discussions, we will continue to hold the government accountable for its
commitments to all Indigenous women, and will work to ensure that non-status women who lost status
due to discrimination in the Indian Act are included in these consultations. NWAC will continue to work
towards the removal of all forms of discrimination in the Act.

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For more information, please contact:
Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 22

Please follow and like us: