July 8, 2019
(Ottawa, ON) In an effort to further advance reconciliation among Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, senior executive members of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) will meet with Canada’s Premiers on July 9 at Big River First Nation Saskatchewan to discuss priorities and considerations for Indigenous child welfare. NWAC is the only Indigenous women’s association present at the summer meeting of Canada’s Council of the Federation.
Since 1974, NWAC has represented the collective voices of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people of First Nation, on and off reserve, both status and non-status, disenfranchised, Metis and Inuit.
“Indigenous women are the foundation of Indigenous communities and families,” said NWAC Interim President Gail Paul. “Indigenous women are the carriers and transmitters of culture, traditions and languages and are the caretakers of the children, families and communities.”
In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that 28.7 per cent of Indigenous children aged zero to four who live with one parent in a lone parent census family, live with a female lone parent compared to 5.6 per cent of non-Indigenous children aged zero to four who live with a male lone parent. Indigenous women play a critically important role in the lives of their children.
“Canada’s Premiers must recognize that Indigenous women are the primary caregivers of Indigenous children and therefore, Indigenous women’s voices must be heard and respected when discussing services for Indigenous children,” urged NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx.
NWAC is calling upon Canada’s Premiers not only to engage and consult Indigenous women when creating and developing services for Indigenous children, but to make it mandatory that Indigenous women be present at all decision-making tables dealing with Indigenous children services.
The Council of the Federation was created in 2003 to promote provincial-territorial cooperation and closer ties between members, foster meaningful relations between governments based on respect for the Constitution and recognition of the diversity within the federation, and to show leadership on issues important to all Canadians.
Senior Director of Legal and Policy