PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Will Not Comment on the Recent Leak of MMIWG Inquiry’s Draft Terms of Reference

July 20, 2016 (Whitehorse, Yukon) – The Native Women’s Association will not be commenting on the recent leak of the draft Terms of Reference for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. As negotiations are still ongoing between the federal government and the provincial/territorial governments, it would not be productive to comment on a draft Terms of Reference leaked yesterday by several media outlets.

President Lavell-Harvard said, “We at the Native Women’s Association are disappointed that this important document has been leaked ahead of the official launch of the National Inquiry. Commenting at this point would be premature and it would undermine a respectful process for the survivors, families, and loved ones of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

President Lavell-Harvard was in meetings at the Council of Federations on Wednesday with the Premiers from all the provinces and territories and other national Indigenous leaders.  All members of the Council reaffirmed their commitment to see the Inquiry move forward in a timely manner.

NWAC is looking forward to providing our comments on the final Terms of Reference at the official launch of the National Inquiry into 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:

Dan Peters
Senior Operations Manager
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Encourages Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in Canada’s Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

June 28, 2016 – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is encouraging Indigenous peoples across Canada to participate in 1) reviewing the Government’s environmental and regulatory assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012; 2) in modernizing the National Energy Board; and 3) in restoring lost protections and introducing modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.

Funding will be available to support the participation of Indigenous groups for meetings and consultation sessions starting September 2016. Applications for funding will begin July 2016.

Indigenous peoples, specifically Indigenous women, have been raising public awareness for decades about the need for greater environmental protections of resources such as water. Water walkers, for example, are Indigenous women who carry an open vessel of water for great distances, without a vehicle and without spilling one drop. Wikwemikong First Nation’s Josephine Mandamin, a Nohkomis or grandmother water walker, started water walking based on the traditional belief that women are responsible for caring for water. She has walked the shorelines of all five Great Lakes – over 20 000 kilometres or half the earth’s circumference. In welcoming the input of Indigenous peoples and communities in the review of environmental assessment processes, the federal government is illustrating its commitment to an imperative respect for the water, land and resources of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Elder Josephine Mandamin from Wikwemikong First Nation has walked over 20 000 km for the water (Ayse Gursoz, Indigenous Rising File Photo).
Elder Josephine Mandamin from Wikwemikong First Nation has walked over 20 000 km for the water (Ayse Gursoz, Indigenous Rising File Photo).

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, with support from the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, are tasked with creating an Expert Panel that will review all environmental assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, namely the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in order to restore public trust and confidence. The goal of the review is to implement new scientifically-based processes that protect the environment, develop the economy, and respect the fundamental rights of Indigenous peoples.

As part of the modernization process of the National Energy Board, the Minister of Natural Resources and his Panel will seek the views of the public, specifically Indigenous peoples across Canada, in order to develop a robust, regionally specific, efficient and effective energy regulator, one which regulates major energy projects such as the construction of pipelines.

Thirdly, the Minister of Transport along with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard are mandating two parliamentary committees to examine the implementation of lost protections and introduction of modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act. The Fisheries Act authorizes the government’s management of Canadian fisheries and protection of marine habitats. The Navigation Protection Act authorizes and regulates interferences with the public right of navigation, and prohibits the depositing or throwing of materials that risk impacting navigation in navigable waters and the dewatering of navigable waters.

All three aforementioned reviews must have strong, robust, and inclusive participation by regionally-diverse Indigenous peoples and communities, as well as Indigenous regional organizations and National Aboriginal Organizations, in order for the environmental and regulatory assessment reviews to be considered legitimate and substantiated.

Quote:

“We at the Native Women’s Association of Canada strongly encourage the participation and political engagement of Indigenous peoples and communities in the review of the federal environmental and energy processes, legislation and regulatory bodies. It is very important that our voices be heard, our communities consulted, our fundamental rights respected, and our lands protected, as outlined by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said President Lavell-Harvard.

For more information, take a look at the Government of Canada’s website – http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1088199&_ga=1.117979981.591637226.1466618190 

 

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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Canada Jeopardizes Credible Footing For National Inquiry By Delaying On Eliminating Sex Discrimination From The Indian Act

nwacfafia

June 23, 2016 – Sharon McIvor, the plaintiff in McIvor v. Canada, a constitutional challenge to the sex discrimination in Canada’s Indian Act, and a petitioner to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, announced today that the Government of Canada has asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee to suspend consideration of her petition. Ms. McIvor’s petition claims that the continuing sex discrimination in the status registration provisions of the Indian Act violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Thousands of Aboriginal women and their descendants are still not able to hold and transmit Indian status on an equal footing with their male counterparts. McIvor seeks full elimination of all remaining sex discrimination.

Canada has asked the UN Committee to suspend its consideration of Ms. McIvor’s petition on the grounds that it plans to consult further on the elimination of the sex discrimination from the Indian Act as a part of a “larger ongoing process” regarding a new nation‑to‑nation relationship. Canada also indicates that the equality rights of Indigenous women are a priority concern, demonstrated by Canada’s commitment to a national inquiry on murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls.

In a statement released today, Sharon McIvor calls on Canada to drop its request for a suspension, withdraw its opposition to her petition, acknowledge that the sex discrimination in the Indian Act violates the equality rights of women, and undertake publicly to remove all the sex discrimination from the Indian Act as soon as possible.

In her statement, Sharon McIvor says: “The national inquiry and any consultations on a new nation-to-nation relationship can only start on a credible footing if the Government of Canada begins by publicly undertaking to eliminate the sex discrimination in the Indian Act immediately. Without this, Indigenous women do not begin these processes as equals.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action announced that they stand with Sharon McIvor in calling for an immediate end to the sex discrimination in the Indian Act.

 

QUOTES:

“NWAC supports Sharon McIvor. NWAC has always stood against the sex discrimination in the Indian Act, which has had devastating and long‑lasting effects on Indigenous women, their families and communities. There is no need for further study. In 2016, it is time for Canada’s new government to end this discrimination, once and for all. This is the necessary beginning for a national inquiry.”

-Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada

“Since 1876 Canada has discriminated against Aboriginal women and their descendants in the status registration provisions of the Indian Act. It is time for this discrimination to come to an end and no delay is acceptable. FAFIA fully supports Sharon McIvor’s call. When a national inquiry on murders and disappearances is about to begin, this is the time to show that Canada recognizes Indigenous women as equals.”

-Angela Cameron, Chair, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action

 

BACKGROUND:

Read Sharon’s statement here:  http://fafia-afai.org/en/sharon-mcivor-sex-discrimination-in-indian-act/

Read Sharon’s petition materials here: http://povertyandhumanrights.org/2016/06/mcivor-v-canada-2016/

 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded in 1974 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. NWAC is widely recognized as the National voice of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and was instrumental in bringing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada to light. Visit us at nwac.ca or follow us at @NWAC_CA.

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women’s organizations founded following the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. FAFIA’s central goal is to ensure that Canadian governments respect, protect and fulfill the commitments to women that they have made under international human rights treaties and agreements. Visit us at fafia-afai.org or follow us at @FAFIAAFAI.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada
Contact: Joyce McDougall, Executive Assistant
Email: jmcdougall@nwac.ca
Telephone 613-722-3033 ext. 221

Sharon McIvor
Feminist Alliance for International Action, Member of the Human Rights Committee
Email: bearclaw@shaw.ca
Telephone 250 378‑7479

Angela Cameron
Feminist Alliance for International Action, Chair of the Steering Committee
Email: a.cameron@uottawa.ca
Telephone: 613 562 5800 Ext 3328

Shelagh Day
Feminist Alliance for International Action, Chair of the Human Rights Committee
Email: shelagh.day@gmail.com
Telephone: 604-872-0750

 

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Celebrates 20th Anniversary of National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2016 – Today the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) calls on all Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to celebrate the rich heritage, diverse cultures and languages, and spectacular achievements of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples on the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day.

President Lavell-Harvard commemorated National Aboriginal Day by attending a traditional Sunrise Ceremony at dawn at the Canadian Museum of History, led by Cree Elders Raymond Ballantyne and Madonna O’Nabigon. Afterwards, President Lavell-Harvard paddled the Ottawa River in a voyageur canoe along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

“National Aboriginal Day is not just a day for Indigenous people to celebrate, it is a day for all Canadians to celebrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples’ cultures and traditions. This morning’s Sunrise Ceremony marked the beginning of a new relationship for all Canadians – a relationship of respect and unity.” said President Lavell-Harvard.

President Lavell-Harvard (right) with Minister Carolyn Bennett, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould at Sunrise Ceremony today. Métis Elder Reta Gordon is speaking on the stage.
President Lavell-Harvard (right) with Minister Carolyn Bennett, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould at Sunrise Ceremony today. Métis Elder Reta Gordon is speaking on the stage.
President Lavell-Harvard (centre) at the Sunrise Ceremony at the Canadian Museum of History with Cree Elder Raymond Ballantyne (far left) and Inuit Elder Sally Webster (left), and Minister Carolyn Bennett (right).
President Lavell-Harvard (centre) at the Sunrise Ceremony at the Canadian Museum of History with Cree Elder Raymond Ballantyne (far left) and Inuit Elder Sally Webster (left), and Minister Carolyn Bennett (right).
President Lavell-Harvard paddling on Ottawa River in voyageur canoe, with Minister Carolyn Bennett and Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
President Lavell-Harvard paddling on Ottawa River in voyageur canoe, with Minister Carolyn Bennett and Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

After many years of consultations with Indigenous leaders and organizations, the Government of Canada announced that National Aboriginal Day would be celebrated every year on June 21, the summer solstice. The announcement was made in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day.

Although many Indigenous organizations have called for the federal government to make National Aboriginal Day a federal statutory holiday, only the Northwest Territories were successful in doing so in 2001, making it the first jurisdiction in Canada to give this day the significance it merits.

The 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day also emphasizes the federal government’s commitment to reconciliation and a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, namely Prime Minister Trudeau’s pledge to implement all of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, including the call for a National Inquiry into 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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: Half A Million People Call For Government To End #MMIWG

June 20, 2016 —Today on Parliament Hill, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Am I Next campaign, Amnesty International Canada, and the Canadian Federation of Students sent a powerful message to the government of Canada: half a million petition signatures supporting a strong and effective national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.

“For nearly 20 years the Native Women’s Association of Canada has been demanding answers and calling for accountability as our sisters continue to be stolen simply because they are Indigenous,” said Dawn Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. “Now is the time for change, so that my daughters can grow up in safety.”

Minister Carolyn Bennett and Minister Patty Hajdu receive petitions calling for National Inquiry into MMIWG from NWAC, Amnesty International Canada, Am I Next campaign, and Canadian Federation of Students.
Minister Carolyn Bennett and Minister Patty Hajdu receive petitions calling for National Inquiry into MMIWG from NWAC, Amnesty International Canada, Am I Next campaign, and Canadian Federation of Students.

 

Official petition hand-over from NWAC, Amnesty Canada, Am I Next campaign, and Canadian Federation of Students, to two Ministers who were present on behalf of the federal government.
Official petition hand-over from NWAC, Amnesty Canada, Am I Next campaign, and Canadian Federation of Students, to two Ministers who were present on behalf of the federal government.

The petition signatures were delivered to Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and Patty Hajdu, Minister for the Status of Women.

“We, the family members of the missing and murdered, didn’t set out to become activists. We were forced into it by circumstance,” said Holly Jarrett, founder of the Am I Next campaign, whose change.org petition was signed by over 350,000 people (www.change.org/AmINext). “As the inquiry begins, it’s crucial that Indigenous women, girls and families like mine are full participants and that grassroots voices are recognized so that we can break the cycles of violence.”

“The rights of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people to live free from violence and discrimination have been violated time and time again,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English). “The national inquiry must address the root causes of this violence—including systemic racism and misogyny—and lead to concrete actions to end these human rights violations.”

“The inquiry process is going to be difficult and our solidarity with Indigenous women, families and communities is going to be needed now more than ever,” said Béatrice Vaugrante, Director-General, Amnistie international Canada Francophone. “But it must conclude with solutions identified by those impacted by the violence. Anything less will be a step away from, not towards, reconciliation.”

“The student movement across Canada stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities as we prepare for the national inquiry to launch,” said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students. “Indigenous women are more than three times as likely as non-Indigenous women in Canada to experience violence, and are more than 6 times more likely to be murdered. And this must stop.”

Background

In the face of staggeringly high rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, activists spent nearly two decades calling for a national inquiry into this human rights crisis. It started with grassroots Indigenous women’s rights activists, and grew to include human rights organizations and social movements, and a growing base of individual supporters.

In December 2015, the federal government announced it would launch a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The signatures delivered to the federal government today come from people who support the national inquiry, and who will be watching it unfold with great hopes and expectations.

To meet the needs of those impacted by this violence, the inquiry must focus on the extreme violence faced by Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people and the systematic factors contributing to that violence. It must provide families with the answers they have been long seeking. It must be truly national in scope and include all levels of government and law enforcement. And it must conclude with a clear and comprehensive plan of action. We challenge Canada to seize this historic opportunity and make the inquiry a bold and courageous step towards reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

 

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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: Former Helen Bassett Award Recipient Crowned Miss Universe Canada

June 16, 2016 – Former Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award recipient, 23-year-old Métis law student Siera Bearchell was crowned Miss Universe Canada in Toronto on June 11, 2016. Hailing from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Bearchell is hoping to use her new position to promote awareness and education of Indigenous culture and Indigenous issues.

Not only is Bearchell pursuing law school at the University of Saskatchewan, she is also an avid community volunteer and blossoming entrepreneur, having co-founded her own clothing brand called Watered Down Apparel which provides 30 days of drinking water in developing countries for every item sold. She has worked with a number of charities, including Free the Children, the Canadian Red Cross, and SOS Children’s Villages.

23-year-old Métis law student Siera Bearchell was crowned Miss Universe Canada in Toronto on Saturday.
23-year-old Métis law student Siera Bearchell was crowned Miss Universe Canada in Toronto on Saturday.

 

“We at the Native Women’s Association of Canada are immensely proud of our 2014 Helen Bassett Student Award recipient, Siera Bearchell. Her tireless devotion to community involvement and promotion of Indigenous culture makes Siera a true inspiration for young Aboriginal women,” said President Lavell-Harvard.

The Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award is an annual $1000 prize awarded to four young Indigenous women, each of whom is from the four traditional directions (North, East, South, and West) and is currently pursuing post-secondary studies, preferably in law or justice related field. Applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to improving the situation of Indigenous women and youth in Canada politically, culturally, economically, or otherwise.

 

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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC President Calls for Support of The Inter-American Commission On Human Rights (IACHR)

June 14, 2016

To NWAC Supporters;

On behalf of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), I am truly shocked to hear of the financial crises of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The IACHR is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (“OAS”) whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere.

NWAC has counted IACHR as a major partner in our domestic and international quest for justice for Indigenous women and girls in Canada as well as Central and South America.   It is appalling in this day and age to have to beg for funding for an organization that is so vital for truth and justice.

We would like to rally NWAC supporters to support the IACHR to join the campaign to bring visibility to the current crisis and to apply pressure on States to pay their quotas to the IACHR immediately.

If the IACHR does not receive any funds by end of June, 40% of their employees of the Commission will be laid off, leaving the Commission almost entirely paralyzed: the Commission will no longer be capable of holding hearings, visits for monitoring of human rights situations in various countries, precautionary measures, etc.

How can you support this important organization?

  • Take a picture of  yourself with a sheet of paper with the hashtag #SaveTheIACHR
  • Then please share this picture as much as possible on Facebook and on Twitter
NWAC staff support #SaveTheIACHR
NWAC staff support #SaveTheIACHR

Thank you for helping to support the Commission. It is essential that the Commission stays alive so it can continue promoting and monitoring respect for human rights.

If you require further information you can check the following:

A press release http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2016/069.asp  and a letter from the President of the Commission, James Cavallaro http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/links/Cavallaro-El-Pais-May2016.pdf.

In unity,

Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard
President
Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Meets With Ministers And Leaders At Newly Formed FPTIF

June 10, 2016 – A delegation from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) met with ministers and leaders from all across Canada at the newly formed Federal, Provincial, Territorial, and Indigenous Forum (FPTIF) meeting in Ottawa on June 9-10, 2016. The FPTIF consists of leaders from the five National Aboriginal Organizations (NAO) namely the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Indigenous People’s Assembly of Canada (IPAC), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Métis National Council (MNC), as well as the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), joined by the provincial/territorial ministers responsible for Indigenous/Aboriginal Affairs, and the federal minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

“The Native Women’s Association of Canada is pleased that the newly formed Federal Provincial Territorial Indigenous Forum (FPTIF) will advance and address the multitude of issues and challenges that Indigenous Women and Girls face in Canada.  NWAC also believes the FPTIF partnership will provide a link to address in a timely fashion the emerging and existing inequities and violations that will surface from the testimony in a National Inquiry. I am very optimistic we are on a path to reconciliation and that Indigenous Women and Girls voices will be heard and respected as we move forward together,” President Lavell-Harvard said during the FPTIF meeting’s opening remarks.

The Federal, Provincial, Territorial, Indigenous Forum Meeting 2016
The Federal, Provincial, Territorial, Indigenous Forum Meeting 2016
Ministers and Leaders of FPTIF Meeting 2016
Ministers and Leaders of FPTIF Meeting 2016

In the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration, the FPTIF, which replaces the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG), discussed the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), child and family services and the Jordan’s Principle, engagement of Indigenous youth, the action plan to address and prevent the gendered and sexual violence against Indigenous Women and Girls, and cooperation on the process of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The FPTIF will meet annually in order to provide national leadership, strong cross-jurisdictional and multilateral partnership and collaboration, and inclusive, culturally and regionally relevant cooperation to ensure the elimination of the systemic, socio-economic, political, cultural, and gendered barriers preventing Indigenous Peoples’ prosperity and happiness.

 

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:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249
Email: dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC President Awarded With Honorary Doctorate

(June 9, 2016) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) President Dawn Lavell-Harvard will be bestowed with an honorary doctorate of Education by Nipissing University at the convocation ceremony in North Bay, Ontario on June 9th, 2016. An alumnus of Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Lavell-Harvard has dedicated the academic part of her career to the study of Education, including the experiences of Indigenous women and girls in Canadian secondary and post-secondary school systems.

“It is a great honour to be acknowledged and recognized by Nipissing University. Equal access to education for Indigenous peoples is such an important part of our struggle for equality in Canadian society” said President Lavell-Harvard.

Dr. Harley D'entremont, Provost & Vice-President Academic & Research (Left); Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard (Centre); Dr. Paul Cook, Chancellor (Right)
Dr. Harley D’entremont, Provost & Vice-President Academic & Research (Left); Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard (Centre); Dr. Paul Cook, Chancellor (Right)

A champion of Indigenous women’s’ rights, Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard was elected President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada at the 41st Annual General Assembly in 2015, after serving as President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association since 2003. Hailing from Wikwemikong First Nation, Dr. Lavell-Harvard’s accomplishments include being named a member of the Independent Advisory Board on Senate Appointments, being Canada’s first indigenous Trudeau scholar, and a publishing number of articles and books discussing Aboriginal mothering practices and the effects of colonization and governmental oppression on Aboriginal mothers.

 

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 Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

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CONTACT:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON  K1N 7B7
Telephone :        613-722-3033 ext. 249
Toll free :    1-800-461-4043
Email :       dpeters@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Supports Government’s official adoption of UNDRIP

(May 10, 2016) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) President Dawn Lavell-Harvard was present in New York City during the announcement that Canada will officially adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The announcement, which received a standing ovation, was given Tuesday, May 10, 2016 by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

NWAC believes that the statement regarding the “adoption and full support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in to federal law, and the need to work to implement it within the laws of Canada” spearheads a positive shift in Canada’s position of the rights of Indigenous peoples. NWAC fully supports the Government of Canada’s adoption of the UNDRIP and anticipates a productive working relationship with the government and other Indigenous women’s organizations on the full implementation.

 

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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 Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

CONTACT:

Lisa Abbott
Executive Director
Native Women’s Association of Canada
labbott@nwac.ca
+1 613-722-3033

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC Congratulates the 3 winners of the Canadian Hillman Prize for their work on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

(April 25, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada wishes to congratulate CBC Aboriginal/CBC News, Radio-Canada and the Globe and Mail for winning the 2016 Canadian Hillman Prize.

CBC Aboriginal and CBC News, through an exhaustive process of interviewing, researching and investigating over 60 years of cases, has created a database of MMIWG.  In this interactive database there are 230 missing women and girls with features that provide deep insight into the women’s lives and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance or murder. Due to their actions new evidence has been uncovered leading to the RCMP and the Winnipeg Police reopening cold cases.

Radio-Canada investigated cases of women who were treated horrifically by Val d’Or police officers – where sources described starlight tours where they would drop women off far out of town, violence, abuse, prostitution, sexual abuse, even rape. The women’s complaints to the police ethic board went unanswered. Eventually numerous changes for the positive occurred as a result of Radio-Canada’s investigation.

The Globe and Mail uncovered more than 250 unidentified human remains not in an RCMP-managed database, investigated Manitoba’s emergency child-welfare program, and revealed that Indigenous women are roughly seven times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be victims of a serial killer. The project featured a unique interactive feature that traced the lives of five Indigenous women slain by serial predators, exposing the social factors that rendered the victims vulnerable.

NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard said:

“Congratulations to everyone involved on receiving the Hillman Prize. Your words and images were weaved into powerful stories and helped NWAC get our longstanding message out, regarding the need for a National Inquiry for MMIWG.”

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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For additional information please contact:

Dan Peters
Acting Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 249

dpeters@nwac.ca

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NWAC Proposes Three Iconic Indigenous Women for Next Bank of Canada Note

 

 

(April 15, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The staff and board of the Native Women’s Association of Canada have collectively determined names of three late iconic Indigenous women to put forward for the open nomination process to add a woman to the next Bank of Canada note.

As the voice of Indigenous women in Canada, NWAC feels that it is our duty to celebrate the powerfully influential role Indigenous women play in our collective history. By showcasing any of the following incredible women, not only would the Bank of Canada be taking a strong step toward reconciliation, this department would be joining our communities in embracing the leadership and resilience of our women.

 

The three women NWAC has selected for submission to the Bank of Canada include:

 

1. E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913):
Emily Pauline Johnson (Mohawk name: Tekahionwake) was a Mohawk woman from the Six Nations Reserve of Grand River in Ontario. She made a name for herself in the arts as a celebrated writer, poet and performer. Johnson’s work has been published and received wide acclamation across Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

2. Annie Mae Aquash (1945-1975)
Annie Mae Aquash (Mi’kmaq name: Naguset Eask) was a Mi’kmaq woman from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. An unwavering advocate for Indigenous empowerment and sovereignty, Aquash was a lifelong activist in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s.

3. Shannen Koostachin (1995-2010)
Shannen Koostachin was a fearless, young Cree activist from Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario. Shannen’s Dream is a Canadian youth-driven movement advocating for equitable education funding for First Nations children that was born out of Koostachin’s activism. Though she does not technically fit the criteria for submission given her untimely passing only 6 years ago, it is NWAC’s belief that Shannen’s spirit, influence and activism have more than earned her a place as a contender.

 

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 Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

 

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QUOTE:

“In different respective ways, each of these individuals embodies what is so beautiful and powerful about Indigenous women. It is my sincere hope that the Bank of Canada take these impressive women into consideration for the next Bank of Canada note.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

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. 223
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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NWAC Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Regarding Métis and Non-Status Indigenous Peoples

(April 14, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) welcomes today’s landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision and views it as an historic day for the rights of Indigenous people.  We welcome this decision because many of our people have been pushed out of our communities as a result of technicalities and were never afforded the status and rights that come with being an Indigenous person.

Some Indigenous women who married non-Indigenous men lost their status and were given opportunities through Bill C-31 but were never allowed membership into their Bands.  Historically and even today non-status and Métis women and their children are some of the most disadvantaged people in Canada.  NWAC is optimistic this is a first step on the long road to achieving a better life for all our people and eventually eradicating the pervasive poverty.

QUOTE:

“Today is a good day for Indigenous women and their children in Canada. NWAC have always supported Métis and non-status Indigenous women and children and was a founding goal of NWAC’s, which makes this decision all the more significant to NWAC.  NWAC will continue to support this decision and work to ensure that benefits flow to Indigenous women and children who are the beneficiaries of this decision.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

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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. 223
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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NWAC and FAFIA to Address Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on MMIWG

 

12

 

 

(April 6, 2016) (Washington, DC) – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold a critical hearing following up on its January 2015 report, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia. The hearing will be held, on April 7, 2016 at 3:15 p.m. Eastern in Washington, D.C., and will serve as an opportunity for members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to engage in open dialogue with Canadian officials on what progress has been made on the implementation of the IACHR’s recommendations.

Representatives from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) will deliver a joint presentation to the Commission during this hearing. Speakers will be Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of NWAC;  Sharon McIvor, FAFIA Human Rights Committee Member; and Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA.

This hearing can we streamed online at the IACHR website: http://original.livestream.com/oasenglish2
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded in 1974 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. NWAC is widely recognized as the National voice of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and was instrumental in bringing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada to light. Visit us at nwac.ca or follow us at @NWAC_CA.

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women’s organizations founded following the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. FAFIA’s central goal is to ensure that Canadian governments respect, protect and fulfill the commitments to women that they have made under international human rights treaties and agreements. Visit us at fafia-afai.org or follow us at @FAFIAAFAI.

 

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QUOTE:

“We know from our sisters on the ground in British Columbia, particularly on the Downtown Eastside, that a severe human rights crisis persists in this region resulting in the ongoing discrimination, violence and oppression of our women and girls. The IACHR’s report, released in December 2014, provided a robust framework and analysis toward the context in which Indigenous women and girls continue to go missing and be found murdered in British Columbia. With the national inquiry now underway, it is time for the federal and provincial governments to implement the recommendations found within this report. Violence against Indigenous women and girls must be stopped, and in order for this to happen we must heed recommendations from the international expert community.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

BACKGROUND:

The full IACHR report is available here: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/indigenous-women-bc-canada-en.pdf

NWAC and FAFIA’s history of engagement with the IACHR is available here: http://fafia-afai.org/en/solidarity-campaign/

 

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. 223
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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NWAC Stands with Indigenous Women of Val D’Or; encourages all Survivors of Police Violence to Continue Coming Forward

(April 1, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has learned that there are more Indigenous women coming forward in the Val D’Or region of Quebec sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and other forms of gender and race-based violence at the hands of Quebec police.

Historically, all tiers of institutional protection services have inflicted violence on our peoples – particularly our women and girls. Racism and sexism lead directly to gender and race-based violence, which is simply unacceptable in any community, particularly at the hands of those who are trusted to protect and serve.

This developing case in Val D’Or is of deep concern to NWAC. Our organization condemns all forms of violence against our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers, and seeks to express our sincere gratitude for the brave survivors who have come forward with these stories.

NWAC is hopeful that survivors of this violence will continue to come forward if and when they feel comfortable doing so. It is only through shining light on these horrific and unacceptable injustices that we will be able to reveal systemic discrimination, and move toward concrete solutions.

To all survivors: we stand with you.

QUOTE

“I am deeply concerned with the allegations coming out of Val D’Or, but not the least bit surprised. We know that violence has been inflicted on our women and girls at the hands of authorities both physically, sexually and institutionally for decades. I am hopeful that through shining light in these dark places, we will one day see justice. Violence against Indigenous woman and girls must stop.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

―30―

MEDIA CONTACT:

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
jjefferys@nwac.ca
+1 613-485-1988

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NWAC Bids Farewell to Outgoing Executive Director, Claudette Dumont-Smith: Passionate Activist, Health Expert & Beloved Algonquin Leader

Claudette

 

 

(March 31, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― Today it is with deep sadness that the staff and board of the Native Women’s Association of Canada bid farewell to the magnificent and unflappable Claudette Dumont-Smith. A strong Algonquin woman from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec, Claudette has worked tirelessly her entire life for the betterment of Indigenous peoples, particularly for our women and girls.

Claudette Dumont-Smith is a former commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada who worked as a health-care professional within Indigenous communities since the late 1970s. A registered nurse, she has held executive positions at multiple national organizations that specialize in the health of Indigenous women and children, including the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, and the National Aboriginal Child Care Commission. She has also worked as an independent management consultant, specializing in health consultation.

Claudette has researched and written about abuse and health issues within Indigenous communities, including Elder abuse, child abuse, domestic violence and problems that Indigenous women face on and off reserves. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Quebec.

For those of us who have had the great fortune to work for and with Claudette, we know that she is one of the most genuine, warm and respectable human beings you could ever meet. She cares deeply for all those who surround her both personally and professionally, she leads with a unique sense of patience and tenacity, and she takes great care to lift up all those around her with her sharp Algonquin wit and infectious sense of optimism.

Claudette will be missed greatly, and we wish her all the best in retirement. Congratulations, Claudette!

 

QUOTE:

 

“Claudette has been an incomparable asset to NWAC. She provided strong and steady leadership and took great care to ensure her staff were valued and cared for. I am truly blessed to have been able to call Claudette a colleague, and even more to call her a dear friend. Thank you so much for everything you have done for this organization, Claudette, and for Indigenous women and girls across Canada. Congratulations on your retirement!”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

 

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MEDIA REQUESTS:
Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
jjefferys@nwac.ca
+1 613-485-1988

 

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NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard Participates in Two Key Parallel Events at 2016 UN Commission on Status of Women

 

(March 24, 2016) (NY, NY, United States of America) ― Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), partook in two key parallel events at the 60th United Nations Special Commission on the Status of Women (#CSW60) in New York, New York on Tuesday March 22, 2016.

The first parallel event entitled Indigenous Women’s Empowerment: Combating the Global Epidemic of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women took an interdisciplinary, cross-generational look at the disproportionate violence Indigenous women and girls face across North America. Fellow panelists included: Dr. Mary Roessel (Navajo) of Santa Fe Indian Hospital; Noel Altaha (Apache) of Columbia University; and Betty M. Lyons (Onondaga) President of the American Indian Law Alliance. This discussion was moderated by Tia Oros Peters (Zuni), Executive Director of Seventh Generation Fund.

The second parallel event was entitled Together We Are Stronger: Indigenous Women’s Movements to End Violence Against American Indian, Alaska Native, and Aboriginal Women. This event was intended to recognize, strengthen, and honour the growing Global movement to end the human rights crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls. Fellow speakers included: Terri Henry, Co-Chair of the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence against Women and Chair of the Indian Law Resource Centre Board of Directors, as well as Tamra Truett Jerue, Director of the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Centre, Tribal Administrator, and Director of Social Services for the Anvik Village Tribal Council.

QUOTE

“It was an honour to participate in each of these critical parallel events during the 60th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Crossing Turtle Island to join our sisters near and far is a crucial piece to solving this international epidemic. In order to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, we must continue to work collaboratively – sharing our stories and building strategic, interdisciplinary partnerships. We are stronger together.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Ph.D., President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

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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FOR MEDIA REQUESTS OR MORE INFORMATION:

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-485-1988
jjefferys@nwac.ca

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NWAC Mourns Life of Delaine Copenace; Renews Call for Immediate Cross-Governmental Action to End Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls

(March 23, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is devastated to learn of yet another daughter stolen from us. The remains of 16 year-old Delaine Copenace of the Onigaming Nation were found yesterday (Tuesday, March 22, 2016) near her home community of Kenora, Ontario.

As the groundswell of community vigils and public search parties would indicate over the past month since she went missing, Delaine Copenace was a girl who was loved and cherished by all those who knew her.

NWAC continues to demand immediate concerted action on the part of both the federal government and all provincial and territorial governments to stop this National epidemic from perpetuating. NWAC maintains that the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls along with Ontario’s new investments are positive first steps – but that we require acknowledgement and cooperation from authorities, from all provinces and territories, and all public institutions in order to reconcile these realities and move forward together.

In light of this heartbreaking tragedy, NWAC seeks to extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the Copenance family, to all Onigaming peoples, to all family members who may experience re-traumatization in learning of this tragedy, and to the entire community of Kenora who have fought hard since late February to find this beautiful young girl. You are in our hearts.

QUOTE

“I wish to send my deepest condolences to all family members, friends and to the entire extended Kenora community as they cope with the loss of Delaine. These senseless acts of violence against our young daughters must end now. Canada must rectify the socio-economic structures that discriminate against our girls and our women to prevent these tragedies from perpetuating. We light a candle in memory of this young stolen sister, and we continue to embark on our journey together to end violence in all its forms against Indigenous women and girls. We will not stop until the violence stops.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

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 Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women in Canada.

 

 

―30―

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

 

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-485-1988
jjefferys@nwac.ca

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NWAC President, Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Speaks to Plight of Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada at 2016 UN Commission on Status of Women; Receives Standing Ovation


(March 18, 2016) (New York, NY, United States) – Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, was invited to join the sixtieth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which began March 14 and concludes on March 24, 2016 at UN headquarters in New York City.

Yesterday (March 17, 2016), Lavell-Harvard joined an esteemed panel of Indigenous women for a special side-event sponsored by Canada entitled Indigenous Women and Girls: Pathways to Equality. The purpose of this side-event was to examine the underlying factors that contribute to Indigenous women and girls’ abuse, including the longstanding impacts of colonialism, racism and sexism.

Lavell-Harvard’s fellow panelists for this event included Chandra Roy Henriksen, Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Betty Lyons, President and Executive Director of the American Indian Law Alliance, and Mirna Cunningham Kain, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This panel was moderated by Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Panelists spoke collectively to the ongoing need to provide holistic, Indigenous-led approaches to addressing the ongoing discrimination experienced by Indigenous women and girls, including violence and abuse.

Lavell-Harvard’s remarks explored the unique and complex plight of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, which, despite a new and promising government remains serious and demands action. Lavell-Harvard spoke to the grueling and multi-decade long grassroots effort on the part of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and other groups and individual activists from across Canada who worked tirelessly to draw the attention of the international community to the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women –ultimately leading to the national inquiry, now underway.
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QUOTE
“To be born Indigenous and female in a country like Canada means that we are born political. We recognize that Canada has the resources and the infrastructure now to lead the way in ending violence against Indigenous women and girls both domestically and internationally. Though decades of systemic oppression and abuse cannot be reversed overnight, the power of our women can wear away the strongest opposition if we are all united. Together, alongside our international partners, we will end violence against Indigenous women and girls.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
jjefferys@nwac.ca
+1 613-485-1988

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NWAC Renews Call for An Immediate Strengthening of Health Services, Resources for Communities Struck by Suicide Epidemic

 

Native Women’s Association of Canada Renews Call for An Immediate Strengthening of Health Services, Resources for Communities Struck by Suicide Epidemic

 

(March 11, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is heartbroken over the recent tragedies in the Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Northern Manitoba. We offer our sincere condolences to the community, as well as the families and friends who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

Recent reports of suicide and suicide attempts in Pimicikamak Cree Nation are devastating; however this reality is not an isolated occurrence. According to the First Nations Regional Health Survey 2002/03, 3 in 10 adults (31%) reported having had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 6 (16%) had attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Further, Indigenous women were more likely than men to have attempted suicide (18.5% versus 13.1%).

In 2010, Health Canada reported that the suicide rate among Indigenous youth is estimated to be five to six times higher than that of non-Indigenous youth in Canada. This is a human rights crisis that must be addressed immediately.

NWAC is currently partnered with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in their Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples initiative, which focuses on moving research into culturally-relevant, gender-appropriate, community-based interventions related to mental health and wellness.

QUOTE:

“Indigenous communities are facing a suicide epidemic. When a member of our community is lost to suicide, particularly a young person, the entire community experiences the repercussions collectively. More robust services are required immediately in our communities to stop these tragedies from reoccurring – that means acknowledging the structural oppression our communities are subjected to, and putting forward stronger services now. Clearly, this epidemic demands immediate action; our communities cannot afford to wait.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

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.

 

 

―30―

 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
jjefferys@nwac.ca
+1 613-722-3033 ext. 235
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)

 

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