(OTTAWA, December 1) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) commends the Government of Canada for the large amount of funding directed to critical Indigenous issues in the 2020 fiscal update released this week— but is also interested in exactly how the funding will be rolled out.
It is especially pleased to see that $724.1 million will be spent on a Violence Prevention Strategy to pay for culturally relevant supports for Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA people who are the targets of gender-based crime.
“NWAC has already created a platform that will allow Indigenous women to deliver culturally appropriate healing programs and services to Indigenous women at our new Resiliency Lodge. And we have presented to the government a 10-year proposal for recreating the lodges in communities across the country,” said Lorraine Whitman, NWAC president.
“The money announced in the fiscal update this week will go a long way toward making that happen, and to meeting the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,” said Whitman.
“It will help to reduce the violence that the Inquiry’s commissioners said is perpetuated by historical, multigenerational and intergenerational trauma.”
NWAC is also pleased to learn that $49.3 million will be spent to implement the Gladue Principles that will incorporate Indigenous-led responses in the mainstream justice and correctional systems to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous People.
“It is a travesty that 42 per cent of the female prisoners behind bars in Canada are First Nations, Métis, or Inuit when Indigenous women people account for less than 2.5 per cent of the Canadian population,” said Whitman.
NWAC supports the allocation of $380 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund. As the largest Indigenous women’s advocacy organization in this country, NWAC is actively involved in helping to create the economic opportunities that will lift Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQQIA people, their families and their communities out of poverty. Any assistance offered in this effort will go a long way to reducing the social and economic marginalization that the Inquiry determined to be another pathway to violence.
And NWAC is relieved to learn that the government will increase the already substantial amount of money it is spending to respond to the COVID-19 crisis that has hit Indigenous women especially hard and has increased the level of violence that many face on a daily basis.
“While we acknowledge that the Government of Canada has put a strong plan in place, we still have a long way to go to have the pandemic under control,” said Whitman.
Along with other supports promised, including allocating more funds toward health initiatives and improving access to clean water, as well as for ending systemic discrimination, the fiscal update promises to channel money to places where it is very much needed.
“While we welcome the announcement for substantial funding for these projects, we are most interested in the details of the funding. We will take some time,” said Whitman, “to carefully review the announcements and to ensure that the funds go directly to the Indigenous-led organizations that will ensure the funds reach Indigenous people who so desperately need them. NWAC will be pleased to work closely with the GoC on violence prevention and intervention.”
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