NWAC CEO Urges United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People to Revisit Definition of the Crime of Genocide in International Law

July 15, 2019

(OTTAWA,ON) – In response to the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) CEO Lynne Groulxmet with United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz to discuss the definition of genocide.

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG found that the acts of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people amounts to race based genocide. In the light of the Inquiry’s findings, NWAC is urging UN Special Rapporteur Tauli-Corpuz to support recent efforts to revisit the current narrow definition of the crime of genocide in international law.

Specifically, the Inquiry report found that “the insidious and gradual nature of the obliteration of Indigenous peoples, and the lack of a uniform national policy spearheaded by a totalitarian mastermind, differentiate colonial genocide from our traditional understanding of what constitutes a genocide.”

NWAC believes that the “time is now for the international community to view the crime of genocide in this wider perspective and to change the current definition of the crime to actually reflect past and current genocidal practices,” according to Groulx.

NWAC has the support of several key international leaders and international organizations and, along with their commitment and support, NWAC intends to explore expanding the definition of genocide as a priority action item.

“The type of genocide occurring in Canada has also occurred in other countries around the globe. Considering the findings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, it is time for the international community to recognize and expand the definition of genocide,” said Groulx.

NWAC will also bring to the attention of the Special Rapporteur the need for international support to implement the 231 Calls for Justice in a meaningful way. As well, NWAC is requesting that United Nations representatives closely monitor the implementation of the Calls for Justice and hold an on-going dialogue with NWAC to discuss the Government of Canada’s progress.

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Media Inquiries:

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

NWAC Elder Attending Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference to Advocate for the Rights and Interests of Indigenous Women

July 15, 2019

(Cranbrook, BC)– Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) Elder Rosanne Martin is attending today the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC) in Cranbrook to advocate for the rights and interests of Indigenous women.

Elder Martin will be participating in conference sessions to raise concerns about the disproportionate impacts of industrial projects on Indigenous women, urging provincial and territorial representatives to take more ambitious action to reduce and eliminate the negative environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts of energy and mining activities on Indigenous women and their families and communities.

Many Indigenous communities across Canada have experienced industrial activities on their traditional territories. Some of these experiences have been positive, while many have been deeply harmful with impacts on the environment, traditions and customs, public and private services and criminality including sexual violence and human trafficking.

“Where industrial projects impact our access to traditional territories, the quality of our environment and the availability and quality of country foods, we are harmed first and most. But perhaps the most reprehensible impact of industrial projects is the increased risk of sexual violence against Indigenous women and girls that come along with the presence of industrial work camps”, said Elder Rosanne Martin.

NWAC continuously works to address issues related to industrial projects where they exist and advocates for respect for Indigenous rights and the best interests of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people.

NWAC is calling on all federal, provincial and territorial governments to undertake more ambitious efforts to work with industry and Indigenous peoples to ensure that meaningful legislative, policy and program measures are in place to minimize negative and maximize positive effects of industrial projects on Indigenous women where these activities take place. 

“Where projects are proposed or undertaken, we must ensure that the voices of Indigenous women are heard, and our rights respected. This will minimize the disproportionate externalization of environmental, social and economic harms and maximize positive outcomes for Indigenous women, their families and communities” said Martin.

The EMMC is an annual gathering of federal, provincial and territorial minsters responsible for energy and mining portfolios in their jurisdictions. This year’s conference will include sessions on the participation of Indigenous peoples in mining operations and women in natural resources.

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Media Inquiries:

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

Native Women’s Association of Canada Breaks Ground on New Social and Cultural Innovation Centre

July 12, 2019

(OTTAWA, ON)- On the morning of July 12, 2019, the staff of the Native Women’s Association of Canada gathered around a building in Hull, QB and each took their turn sprinkling tobacco at its base. It was a momentous occasion for NWAC staff, but an even greater one for Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people across Canada. It was the ground breaking ceremony for NWAC’s new Social and Cultural Innovation Centre.

After a smudging by Elder Roseann Martin, NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx expressed the significance of the new building:

“We will offer supports and services and workshops tailored to meet the needs of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people who are impacted by ongoing structural, institutional and individual and aggravated forms of discrimination and sexism and stereotypes. The recent final Inquiry report described all of this in its recent report and called it a GENOCIDE stemming from colonization,” she said.

This will be the very first centre of its kind in Canada and the world.

In an effort to directly respond to the recommendations of the final Inquiry report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, part of the new building will be devoted to a Resiliency Centre.

“It will offer trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate and gender-based services, infusing traditional healing, medicines and teachings,” said Groulx.

The new centre will also provide a platform of economic empowerment for Indigenous women entrepreneurs who can sell their products in the NWAC Boutique called “Originelle”.

“By doing so, we will be removing barriers to ensure the wellbeing, socio-economic advancement and self-sufficiency of Indigenous women and their families,” said Groulx.

Gail Paul, NWAC Interim President, was also there with powerful words:

“The Social and Cultural Innovation Centre is one step forward in a journey of many steps. It will provide supports and services that are created by Indigenous women for Indigenous women. A place where we feel safe, understood and empowered. It will be a place for Indigenous women to heal, reconnect and grow in the aftermath of the MMIWG findings of Genocide. It is a place of hope and health. A place to celebrate our culture, our resilience and our future!”

The hope, both women expressed, is not only for this centre to succeed in healing and empowering Indigenous women, but for it to inspire the creation of many others across Canada and the world.

Paul said the ground breaking ceremony is testament to what can be accomplished when Indigenous women are at the decision-making table.

“It represents what is possible when Indigenous women have their voices heard and respected. It is also a reminder to all of us of our potential and our spirit when we work together.”

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Media Inquiries:

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

Native Women’s Association of Canada to Attend Canada Premiers’ 2019 Summer Meeting in Saskatchewan

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.

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Media Inquiries:

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

Statement: Mistaken Release of Housing Report

July 4th, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) Earlier this week, NWAC completed a draft report on Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people’s difficult relationship with housing. Unfortunately, the report was released prematurely. We have more to add to ensure our final report is a valuable contribution to this (often-lacking) body of literature. Housing insecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada. Colonization, patriarchy and the effects of inter-generational trauma all contribute to the particularly negative experiences Indigenous women endure around housing. For example, Indigenous women’s inability to access secure housing can leave them in vulnerable situations or unable to escape abuse. We hope to have our final report ready to share in the near future, in order to continue our mission of empowerment and equality for all Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people.

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Inquiries:

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

NWAC Launches Phase 2 of Faceless Dolls Project on National Indigenous Peoples Day: ‘Putting a Face on Justice: From Calls for Justice to Action’

June 21, 2019

(Ottawa, ON): One thousand one hundred and eighty-one — that’s the number of Indigenous women and girls we know have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada. To raise awareness about this tragedy and to give a voice to the voiceless, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) launched the Faceless Doll Project in 2012. 

Seven years later, in concert with the release of the final report by the Government of Canada’s independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – and on National Indigenous Peoples Day – NWAC is launching Phase 2 of the Project. This time, giving faces to their faceless dolls. 

“Each statistic tells a story, and so to remind everyone not to let the individual lives lost become just another number, NWAC created the Faceless Doll Project. It was a visual and physical reminder of all the strong and beautiful Aboriginal women who have become faceless victims of crime. It also gave Aboriginal mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and friends an opportunity to honour those gone, comfort those left behind and educate those who are unaware of the disproportionate number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across the country,” says Lorraine Whitman, President of the Nova Scotia Chapter of NWAC. 

The Project was a resounding success, with Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people getting together at community engagement workshops held from coast to coast to coast to create their very own felt doll. The dolls became part of a travelling art exhibit. 

Phase 2 of the Project, called “Putting a Face on Justice: From Calls for Justice to Action,” involves encouraging youth in classrooms across the country to engage in activities designed to help them connect to their hearts, spirits and sense of self. NWAC’s Honouring Project bag contains a toolkit, guide, colouring book and pencils, coloured felt sheets, doll patterns and accessories to create dolls — all the materials necessary to give a face to the once faceless — a fitting tie-in to the release of the National Inquiry’s final report Reclaiming Power and Place but also a new beginning, says Ms. Whitman. 

To launch Phase 2, kits for creating their own dolls with faces were sent to every Member of Parliament serving in the House of Commons today. 

“The missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are no longer faceless. Their families have given them back their voice. It is now time for us, under the collective umbrella of NWAC, to put faces on our dolls — a visual symbol of healing and transformation, and a way to honour and acknowledge that the voices of our women and their families have been heard.” 

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Media Inquiries:

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

Un message en français suivra.

Le 21 juin 2019 

L’AFAC lance la phase 2 du projet des poupées sans visage pour la Journée nationale des peuples autochtones : « Donner un visage à la justice : des Appels à la justice à l’action » 

OTTAWA (Ontario) – Mille cent quatre-vingt-une, c’est le nombre de femmes et de filles autochtones dont on sait qu’elles sont disparues ou qu’elles ont été assassinées au Canada. Afin de sensibiliser la population à cette tragédie et de donner une voix à celles qui n’en ont pas, l’Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) avait lancé le projet des Poupées sans visage en 2012. 

Sept ans plus tard, de concert avec la publication du rapport final de l’Enquête nationale indépendante du gouvernement du Canada sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées – et à l’occasion de la Journée nationale des peuples autochtones, l’AFAC lance la phase 2 du projet. Cette fois, en donnant un visage à leurs poupées sans visage. 

« Chaque statistique raconte une histoire et donc, pour rappeler à chacune et chacun de ne pas laisser des vies individuelles devenir un chiffre de plus, l’AFAC avait créé le projet des Poupées sans visage. C’était un moyen visuel et palpable de rappeler le souvenir de toutes les femmes autochtones belles et fortes qui sont devenues des victimes sans visage d’actes criminels. C’était également un moyen de donner aux mères, aux filles, aux tantes, aux grands-mères, aux sœurs autochtones et aux amies l’occasion d’honorer celles qui sont parties, de réconforter celles et ceux qui restent et de sensibiliser ceux et celles qui n’ont pas conscience du nombre disproportionné de femmes autochtones disparues et assassinées à l’échelle du pays », dit Lorraine Whitman, présidente de la section de la Nouvelle-Écosse de l’AFAC. 

Le projet a été une réussite retentissante auprès des femmes, des filles et des personnes de diverses identités de genre qui se sont rassemblées dans des ateliers de mobilisation communautaires, tenus d’un océan à l’autre et à l’autre, pour créer leurs propres poupées de feutre. Ces poupées ont été réunies pour former une exposition itinérante. 

La phase 2 du projet, appelée « Donner un visage à la justice : des Appels à la justice à l’action » implique d’encourager les jeunes dans les écoles à l’échelle du pays à participer à des activités conçues pour les aider à établir des liens entre leur cœur, leur esprit et leur sentiment d’identité. Le sac du projet d’honneur de l’AFAC contient une trousse d’outils, un guide, un cahier à colorier et des crayons de couleurs, des feuilles de feutre de différentes couleurs, des patrons de poupées et des accessoires pour créer des poupées – tout ce qu’il faut pour donner un visage à celles qui n’en avaient pas – un lien approprié à la publication du rapport final de l’Enquête nationale, Réclamer notre pouvoir et notre place, mais également un nouveau départ », dit Mme Whitman. 

Pour lancer la phase 2, des trousses ont été envoyées aujourd’hui à tous les députés fédéraux qui font actuellement partie de la Chambre des communes, pour qu’elles et ils puissent créer leurs propres poupées dotées d’un visage. 

« Les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées ne sont plus sans visage. Leurs familles leur ont redonné leur voix. Le moment est venu pour nous, sous le parapluie collectif de l’AFAC, de donner des visages à nos poupées – un symbole visuel de guérison et de transformation et un moyen d’honorer nos femmes et leurs familles et de reconnaître que leurs voix ont été entendues. » 

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Requêtes des médias :

Steven Pink
Senior Director of Legal and Policy
[email protected]
343-997-1350

NWAC Partners with Global Affairs In Faceless Dolls Sister Panels Exhibit Launch

(Ottawa, ON) – On June 19, 2019, during an honouring ceremony, the Global Affairs Canada’s Champion for Aboriginal Peoples and the department’s Aboriginal Network proudly unveiled the Faceless Dolls Sister Panels permanent exhibit, in partnership with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). This exhibit intended to honour and recognize the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

The Faceless Dolls Sister Panels initiative represents the commitment of federal government employees to educate their fellow public servants on the history of Indigenous people, as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #57.

“Global Affairs Canada’s [GAC] Aboriginal Network is proud to celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis during Indigenous Awareness Week. Today’s unveiling of the Faceless Dolls Sister Panels permanent exhibit offers GAC employees an opportunity to support healing, create awareness, and is one more step along the path toward advancing reconciliation,” says Dominique Bélanger, GAC’s Champion for Aboriginal Peoples.

The Faceless Dolls project was launched by NWAC, following the organization’s involvement in documenting the 583 then-known cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (That number has since climbed to 1,181.) The project, which consisted of visual and physical representations of the Indigenous women and girls who had gone missing or were murdered, became a traveling art exhibit in their memory.

During the 2016 Aboriginal Awareness Week, a single Faceless Dolls panel was displayed at Global Affairs Canada. This inspired the department’s Aboriginal Network and Women’s Network to co-host a Faceless Dolls workshop. As of 2018, some 178 dolls have been created and displayed on three panels, which Global Affairs Canada has named Sister Panels.

“This permanent exhibit is a fitting tribute to honour the many Indigenous missing and murdered women and girls and a poignant way to ensure that so many women are not forgotten,” said Lynne Groulx, CEO for NWAC. “It is time now to move on to Phase 2 of our Faceless Dolls Project by putting a face on justice and to acknowledge that the important voices of our women and their families have been heard.”

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NWAC Urges Government of Canada to Choose Action Over Further Consultation on Sex-Based Discrimination in the Indian Act.

June 13, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Following the Government of Canada’s tabling yesterday of the Report to Parliament on the Collaborative Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nations Citizenship, Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) CEO Lynne Groulx called upon Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett to eliminate all sex-based discrimination and inequity under the registration provisions of the Indian Act.

The Report tabled yesterday in Parliament summarizes Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s consultations —mandated under Bill S-3— concerning the discrimination and inequity under the registration provisions of the Indian Act.  The year-long consultations identified a number of other inequities in the Indian Act that need to be addressed, in particular how the different categories under the Act and the second generation cut-off are impacting families and communities. The Government offered additional funding and resources so that First Nations could further engage with their members.

“While the Report confirmed the Government of Canada will be implementing measures to address discrimination and inequity under the registration provisions, a failure to take immediate action to remove the 1951 cut-off or address the significant and harmful effects of the Indian Act on Indigenous women and their families is troublesome,” said CEO Groulx. “Meaningful and real action is long overdue. Reconciliation with First Nations peoples, including vulnerable First Nations women and children, demands swift action —not words.”

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications 
[email protected] | 343-997-3756

For Additional information please see NWAC’s Backgrounder

Report to Parliament on the Collaborative Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nations Citizenship 

Statement Re: NWAC Membership Meeting

June 8th, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) A meeting called by the membership of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) to resolve the continuance of Francyne Joe as President of the organization was unable to proceed today, due to a lack of quorum, because of either emergency or extraordinary circumstances on the part of some of the delegates.

“It is unfortunate that due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to proceed due to a lack of quorum. That said, a meeting is being planned to address and resolve this issue in July,” said Gail Paul, NWAC’s First Vice President. “What is most important is continuing the critical work the organization is doing to represent the interests of Indigenous women across the country — including being at the forefront of the implementation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Inquiry recommendations.”

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For more information:
Joan Weinman
613-294-5679
[email protected]

Indigenous Women: Peace, Security and Inclusion: Women Deliver 2019 Conference Session

“Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people deserve better. This is a pivotal time for Indigenous rights.” – Lynne Groulx, CEO, NWAC

June 5, 2019

Vancouver, BC. – Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) CEO Lynne Groulx appeared today at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, BC to add her expertise in human rights and her strong voice as a Métis woman to moderating the expert panel on Indigenous Women: Peace, Security and Inclusion.

The members of the panel — comprised of Jane Meriwas, Executive Director of Samburu Women Trust; Dr. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, former chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Medical Doctor; and Marion Buller, Chief Commission of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)— are expected to discuss a wide range of current issues, including the 231 Calls for Justice contained in the recently released Final Report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“I am honoured to be among global leaders to moderate this panel. This platform will amplify the National Inquiry’s call for justice, as well as probe how ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people worldwide requires urgent action if true reconciliation is to be achieved,” said Ms Groulx.

The National Inquiry exposed Canada’s genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. As a leading voice on the issue of MMIWG, NWAC was deeply invested throughout the process. In its final written submission, NWAC submitted 61 recommendations alongside implementation procedures. In response to the Inquiry’s findings of genocide, the Organization of American States (OAS) is proposing Canada’s support for the immediate creation of a panel to probe the allegations of genocide against Indigenous women.

“This is a pivotal time for Indigenous women’s rights. The world is watching to see how Canada will implement the Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice,” said Ms. Groulx. “This is Canada’s opportunity to ensure the safety and protection of its Indigenous women. Advocates must persistently apply pressure to ensure the Calls to Justice are implemented and that Canada is held accountable.”

“Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people deserve better,” Ms Groulx added. “They are the teachers, Knowledge Keepers and hearts of Indigenous communities and must to be included in dialogues and critical decision-making tables to ensure their perspectives and experiences are included.”

The discussion of the expert panel on Indigenous Women: Peace, Security and Inclusion marks another important step forward.

The full report can be read here. Women Deliver 2019

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications 
[email protected] | 343-997-3756

The National Inquiry Calls for Justice – NWAC Calls for Action

June 3, 2019

Ottawa, ON –The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) welcomes today’s release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), calling it a significant milestone and an important step towards identifying the causes of all forms of violence faced by Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada.

NWAC wishes to thank the National Inquiry for the release of the report and would also like to honour all the spirits of their stolen sisters and acknowledge the survivors, family members, experts and Knowledge Keepers who shared their stories throughout the Inquiry. Their strength and resiliency reveals a truth we have known for far too long. The truths shared at the hearing tell thousands of stories of acts of genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people that persists to this day.

“We have the right to safety and security. Our women must be treated with respect and dignity. Recognition must go out to the families and survivors who spoke up to make sure this is possible,” said Roseann Martin, Elder at NWAC.

The process of colonization created the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The report exposes this crisis that is centuries in the making. It also highlights that discrimination is deeply rooted in policies, practices and laws, denying Indigenous women their basic human rights. This discrimination and systemic violence must end by implementing the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice.

“The 231 Calls for Justice must be implemented. We must end all forms of violence against our women, girls, gender diverse people and communities,” said Lynne Groulx, CEO at NWAC. “Our families, women, girls and gender diverse people must have their human and Indigenous rights respected.”

As a leading voice on the issue of MMIWG, NWAC is deeply invested in the implementation of the Inquiry’s Calls for Justice. NWAC submitted 61 recommendations alongside implementation procedures to the Inquiry. We appreciate the Inquiry reflecting them in the final report.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications 
[email protected] | 343-997-3756

Nunavut Joins NWAC to have Inuit Women’s Voices Heard. The Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association is now a Provincial Territorial Member Association of NWAC

Ottawa, ON- The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is proud to welcome a new Provincial Territorial Member Association (PTMA) representing Nunavut, the Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association (NIWA). This is an important and historic step for NWAC to bring the voices of Inuit women to the national level and the first time NWAC has PTMAs in all provinces and territories.

NIWA is a voice for Inuit women who seek to advance political empowerment for Inuit women in all spheres of life. As an organization, NIWA seeks to promote Inuit women in leadership roles, address challenges limiting equity, facilitate economic empowerment, and create programs to address the intergenerational impacts of colonization and ongoing inequities.

“NWAC is excited to welcome NIWA to our Provincial Territorial Member Associations. It is through our PTMAs that we bring the voices of grassroots women to the national level. With NIWA we can empower Inuit women living in Nunavut,” said NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx.

The President of NIWA is Madeleine Redfern, an Inuk politician and the mayor of Iqaluit, Nunavut. She is a businesswoman, the first Inuk woman to be offered a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada, a founding member of the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and a strong social advocate.

Along with Madeleine, NIWA board members Pamela Gross, Ningeolaa Killiktee, Mary Killiktee, Meeka Kiguktak, and Jasmine Redfern bring a diversity of knowledge, skills and lived experience, and will utilize their combined expertise to advocate for the rights of Inuit women living in Nunavut.

With this new relationship comes opportunities to strengthen our advocacy, and NWAC is eager to begin working with NIWA to bring the distinct needs and priorities of Inuit women to the national level.

-30-For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications 
[email protected] | 343-997-3756

NWAC STATEMENT ON DEFEAT OF BILL S-215, AN ACT TO AMEND THE CRIMINAL CODE (SENTENCING FOR VIOLENT OFFENCES AGAINST INDIGENOUS WOMEN)

Trigger warning: this statement contains discussion and themes that may be retraumatizing for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, and survivors of violence.

NWAC is deeply disappointed that Bill S-215, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent offences against Indigenous women) was defeated at the Second Reading of the House of Commons on Tuesday April, 10. Introduced in 2015 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck, Bill S-215 represented recognition of the fact that Canada’s colonial history means that crimes happen to Indigenous women for distinct reasons, and seeks to have violent offenders punished accordingly.  

The causes and outcomes of violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people are often the product of Canada’s legacy of colonialism and genocide. The bill recognized that because crimes happen to Indigenous women for different reasons, they require a different response.

As a supporter of this bill, NWAC hoped it would be an important step forward with respect to the urgent issues Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people face today such as heightened likelihood of disappearance, human trafficking, violent crimes, and forced and coerced sterilization. NWAC hoped the House of Commons would see Bill S-215 as a step towards justice for Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people who face so much discrimination in Canada’s legal system.

Reconciliation requires that Canada recognize the harmful impacts of colonialism, and take tangible action to enable safety and justice for Indigenous women. Words and promises are meaningless without action. Reconciliation is not achieved through empty promises.

Indigenous women have been denied justice in the colonial system for far too long, and we will not forget or stand by quietly while it continues to happen.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications
[email protected] | 343-997-3756


FIRST NATIONS WOMEN LEADERS DEMAND AN END TO INDIAN ACT SEX DISCRIMINATION

Media Advisory – Media Conference April 9, 2019, Ottawa Avis aux médias – Conférence de presse le 9 avril 2019, Ottawa Le français suit.

When: Media conference 12:30 p.m. April 9

Where: Press Conference Room in 135-B West Block, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa.

What: First Nations women leaders will gather in Ottawa on April 9 to demand an end to Indian Act sex discrimination before the election. The sex discrimination can be removed by Order-in-Council, because provisions are already included in Bill S-3 that will have the effect of removing the core of the sex discrimination. Those provisions are not in force, but can be brought into force by a Cabinet decision, any Tuesday. The sex discrimination in the Indian Act is 143 years old.

Who: Sharon McIvor is a Thompson Indian and a member of the Lower Nicola Band. She is a lawyer who challenged the sex discrimination in Canada’s courts, and filed a petition with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which resulted in a ruling on January 11, 2019 that the sex discrimination violates Canada international human rights obligations to guarantee equality to First Nations women and equal enjoyment of culture. Francyne Joe is a proud member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation in British Columbia. She is the President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Dawn Lavell Harvard is a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation. She is the President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. Viviane Michel is an Innu woman from Maliotenam. She is the President of Quebec Native Women. Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, along with Yvonne Bedard, brought the first legal challenge to the -sex discrimination in the Indian Act in 1973, and has been a lifelong advocate for the rights of First Nations women. Dr. Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick, a lawyer and the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. Senator Lillian Dyck is a member of the Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. She is the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, and has been a champion of equality for First Nations women.

For further information, please contact:

Shelagh Day: [email protected]; 604-872-0750 NWAC: Lucy Juneau, – Director of Communications, [email protected], 343-997-3756 ONWA: Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager, [email protected], 647-970-7661 QNW: Miriam Fillion – Communication Officer, [email protected], 819-460-5552 0000

Un message en français suivra.

8 avril 2019

DES REPRÉSENTANTES DES FEMMES DES PREMIÈRES NATIONS EXIGENT LA FIN DE LA DISCRIMINATION BASÉE SUR LE SEXE DANS LA LOI SUR LES INDIENS

Quand: Conférence de presse le mardi 9 avril 2019, à 12h30

Où: Salle de conférence de presse 135-B, Édifice de l’Ouest du Parlement, Ottawa.

Quoi: Les représentantes des femmes des Premières Nations se réuniront à Ottawa le 9 avril pour demander la fin de la discrimination sexiste dans la Loi sur les Indiens avant les élections. La discrimination fondée sur le genre peut être supprimée par décret, car le projet de loi S-3 contient déjà des dispositions qui auront pour effet de supprimer l’essentiel de la discrimination fondée sur le genre. Ces dispositions ne sont pas encore entrée en vigueur, mais peuvent être mises en œuvre par une simple décision du Cabinet, qui se réunit chaque mardi. Rappelons que la discrimination fondée sur le sexe dans la Loi sur les Indiens persiste depuis 143 ans.

Qui: Sharon McIvor est une autochtone Thompson et membre de la bande de Lower Nicola. Avocate, elle a contesté la discrimination fondée sur le genre devant les tribunaux canadiens et a déposé une plainte auprès du Comité des droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies, lequel a conclu le 11 janvier 2019 que la discrimination fondée sur le genre dans la Loi sur les Indiens contrevient aux obligations internationales du Canada en matière de droits humains de garantir le droit à l’égalité des femmes des Premières Nations et de leur permettre de jouir de leur culture de façon égale. Francyne Joe est fière membre de la nation Nlaka’pamux en Colombie-Britannique. Elle est présidente de l’Association des femmes autochtones du Canada. Dawn Lavell Harvard est membre de la Première Nation Wikwemikong. Elle est présidente de l’Ontario Native Women’s Association. Viviane Michel est une femme innue originaire de Maliotenam. Elle est la présidente de Femmes autochtones du Québec. Jeannette Corbiere Lavell accompagnée de Yvonne Bedard a lancé le premier recours judiciaire contre la discrimination fondée sur le genre dans la Loi sur les Indiens en 1973. Elle a toujours défendu les droits des femmes des Premières Nations. Pamela Palmater, citoyenne mi’kmaw et membre de la Première Nation d’Eel River Bar dans le nord du Nouveau-Brunswick, est avocate et présidente du conseil d’administration de la gouvernance autochtone à l’Université Ryerson. La sénatrice Lillian Dyck est membre de la Première Nation Gordon en Saskatchewan. Elle est présidente du Comité sénatorial des peuples autochtones et travaille activement pour la défense du droit à l’égalité des femmes des Premières Nations.

Pour plus d’informations, veuillez contacter:

Shelagh Day: [email protected]; 604-872-0750 NWAC: Lucy Juneau, Directrice des communications, [email protected], 343-997-3756 ONWA: André Morriseau, Directeur des communications, [email protected], 647-970-7661 FAQ: Miriam Fillion – Responsable des communication, [email protected], 819-460-5552

NWAC calls for an international alliance to end human trafficking of Indigenous women and girls at 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Ottawa, ON- This week, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is attending the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN headquarters in New York.

Today, NWAC will be attending a session hosted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on “Preventing the Trafficking of Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation: Understanding States Obligations to Address Demand Under the Palermo Protocol.” We must address the overrepresentation of Indigenous women as victims of human trafficking globally. 

In Canada, Indigenous women make up four per cent of the population, but are roughly 50% of the trafficking victims. We know this is not only a Canadian issue, but an international issue as well. Around the world, Indigenous women experience violence at disproportionate rates. It is time for an international commitment to address these issues.

Within NWAC’s recently signed Accord with Canada, our first priority is to improve the well-being of Indigenous women, which includes addressing domestic and international human trafficking. NWAC emphasizes that human trafficking has no boundaries or borders, and calls for an international alliance of women to end human trafficking.  

Our women and girls deserve better. Let’s work together to create a safer future for Indigenous women globally.


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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications.

[email protected] 343-997-3756 8sϋ

NWAC hosted side event at the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Ottawa, ON- Today marks the beginning of the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN headquarters in New York. Global leaders, non-profit organizations, UN member states and activists from around the world gather to discuss the rights and empowerment of women and girls. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is attending to represent the distinct perspectives of Indigenous women across Canada.

NWAC hosted a side event today titled, “Empowering Indigenous Women in Canada” to discuss violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, employment development, access to supports and best practices, and gaps in services.

NWAC Executive Director Lynne Groulx identified an urgent need for healing services in Canada stemming from colonialism and different forms of inter-generational traumas noting survivors are in acute need of culturally appropriate services. 

In Canada, systemic racism and the legacy of colonialism continue to hinder equal access to basic infrastructure, public services and social supports for Indigenous women and girls. Many of our communities do not have access to clean water, transportation, equitable healthcare, safe housing, and essential services. Yet, many view Canada as a global leader for human rights.

In 2019, there is no excuse for these ongoing inequities. Indigenous women must be at all decision-making tables on all issues affecting our lives. It’s time Indigenous women lead the change.

NWAC looks forward to connecting with other organizations, leaders, and activists advocating for women’s rights and gender equality globally throughout the week. We must surpass colonial boarders to form an international alliance of Indigenous women and strengthen the international alliance of all women to make gender equality a reality.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications.

[email protected] 343-997-3756

NWAC MEETS WITH THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE

Ottawa, ON—Today, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) met with the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan, and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef.

After the historic signing of the Canada-NWAC Accord, this is the second step in establishing a renewed relationship where NWAC is recognized as a full and equal participant.

Discussions included the implementation of the Canada-NWAC Accord and the importance of our participation in the development of all policies, programs, and legislation to ensure a culturally-relevant gender based lens is applied. NWAC’s leadership and expertise ensures the specific and necessary inclusion of Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.

NWAC stressed the need for social and cultural innovation initiatives including funding for culturally appropriate healing and healthcare services. With the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls closing, there is an urgent need for healing. NWAC’s upcoming Resiliency Centre led the dialogue, as it will facilitate important healing, honouring and commemoration resources and activities in NWAC’s new building.

NWAC also advocated for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Ongoing collaboration between NWAC and Canada on these key items is vital to advance a reconciliation process to decolonize, creating policies, programs, and legislation that enables self-determination, safety, and justice.

NWAC is optimistic this is the beginning of a productive dialogue, and an indication of Canada’s commitment to Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.

After decades of discrimination the #WomenOfNWAC deserve nothing less than full equality and inclusion, followed by tangible action. #OurVoicesMatter

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications.

[email protected] 343-997-3756

NWAC MEETS WITH NATIONAL COORDINATION OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN IN COLOMBIA (CONAMIC) TO SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND BUILD SOLIDARITY

Ottawa, ON- The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) met with delegates from the National Coordination of Indigenous Women in Columbia (CONAMIC) to discuss shared priorities and issues.

NWAC and CONAMIC found similarities among our Indigenous women including disproportionate rates of violence and human trafficking and difficulty reporting missing women or navigating the justice system.

NWAC emphasized the importance of international human rights mechanisms like the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in our advocacy work both domestically and internationally and highlighted the necessity of taking a culturally relevant gender-based approach to this work.

“It is not just about Indigenous rights, we need gender based rights as well,” said Lynne Groulx, NWAC’s Executive Director.

Sharing knowledge and building solidarity among Indigenous women globally is a key tenant of NWAC’s international advocacy. NWAC and CONAMIC will work to form an alliance together to collaborate on shared issues, policy priorities, and the political empowerment of Indigenous women.

“We are forming a sisterhood of support between Indigenous women globally,” said Groulx.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications 343-997-3756 – [email protected]

NWAC CALLS FOR TRUTH AND TRANSPARENCY AMIDST SNC-LAVALIN SCANDAL

OTTAWA, ON- NWAC was disappointed over the resignation of Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minster of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday. As the only Indigenous woman in the federal cabinet, she provided an important perspective and key leadership on Indigenous issues. To truly advance reconciliation in Canada, the voices of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people must be heard at all levels of government.

Former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has not provided detailed reasons for her decision to resign. NWAC respects her right to speak for herself and will not engage in speculation about her decision to resign as Minister of Veteran Affairs. As a National voice representing women of many Indigenous Nations in Canada, NWAC believes in supporting the voices of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. This means respecting that each person speaks for themselves.

As discussions about the SNC-Lavalin scandal continue, former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s voice remains noticeably absent. To truly shed light on what happened, former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould must be allowed to speak freely. Therefore, NWAC calls for truth and transparency, and the waiving of solicitor-client privilege. We all deserve to know the truth, and former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould must be allowed to speak as the expert of her own experiences.

Furthermore, by the Prime Minister speaking publicly about former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s resignation, his meeting with her and indicating that he put no pressure on her with respect to the SNC – Lavalin criminal charges, then the Prime Minister has waived the Government of Canada’s right to solicitor-client privilege.  By so doing, former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is allowed to speak freely before the Justice Committee.

NWAC is committed to upholding the principles of honesty and transparency in the work that we do, and we expect the same from our elected officials.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications.

[email protected] 343-997-3756

Native Women’s Association of Canada Signs Accord

With the common goals of establishing a renewed Nation-to-Nation relationship between Indigenous Nations and Canada, the Government of Canada and the Native Women’s Association signed an Accord on February 1, 2019. The Accord will recognize NWAC as a full participant in decision-making processes at the national and international levels.

This Accord means Canada will work with NWAC to establish a reconciliation building process to decolonize, which includes meetings with the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers responsible for policy development and key federal Cabinet Ministers.

For too long, the voices of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people have been silenced. Through this Accord, their perspectives and political voices will be heard and will assist the development and design process of programs, services, policies and laws.

Since 1974, NWAC has advocated for women, girls, gender diverse people and families of many Indigenous Nations, fighting for an inclusive world that understands and respects their diversity and uniqueness.

This historic Accord will allow NWAC and Canada to collaboratively address policy priorities including health and well-being (with particular attention to mental health), economic empowerment, youth well-being and leadership, environmental protection, housing, education, overrepresentation of Indigenous women in prisons, and international relationships, all of which directly affect the lives and rights of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people.

NWAC and Canada agreed it is a shared priority to empower Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, as leaders, in the design and the co-development of laws, programs services, operational practices and policies.

This Accord is a significant step towards healing and reconciliation. It’s time to end the legacy of colonialism, colonial attitudes, and gender-based violence wherever they remain in all Federal legislation, institutions, policies and operational practices.


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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications [email protected] 343-997-375