NWAC PREPARED TO ENGAGE ON NEW INDIGENOUS RIGHTS FRAMEWORK

February 16, 2018

OTTAWA, ON – The Native Women’s Association of Canada commends Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada on the announcement of a new Indigenous framework that ‘will develop – in full partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples – a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework.”  This apparent willingness to initiate change in full partnership with Indigenous people is a positive sign that Canada is committed to enhanced and renewed acknowledgment of Indigenous rights in Canada.

This thorough examination and implementation of a new framework must include the perspective and involvement of Indigenous women; therefore, “we anticipate the federal government will ensure that NWAC is a full partner and participant in engagement related to building and implementing the new Framework”, stated Francyne Joe, President of NWAC. Joe further stated, “Indigenous women are life holders and water carriers and collectively, NWAC represents a multitude of Nations of Indigenous women who are First Nations, Métis, Inuit. These women represent non-status women and girls and rights holders with Treaty rights, inherent rights, Métis rights, human rights and gender-based rights.  As a representative of Indigenous women, NWAC will provide the required gender-based perspective. In order to achieve success in this new Indigenous rights framework, the Government of Canada must include equal gender-based representation.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) requires particular attention to the rights and special needs of Indigenous Elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.  Canada must recognize that Indigenous women have long recognized NWAC as their representative body at the regional, provincial, territorial, national and international levels.

The proposed Framework is a monumental undertaking and unprecedented.  The next steps will be telling and must help ensure success in this potentially historic redirection on the rights of Indigenous people of many Nations, as stated by the Prime Minister, these discussions will be in “full partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people”.  In order for that to be true, it will include the distinct voice of Indigenous women through that of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

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The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women. NWAC is an aggregate of thirteen Native women’s organizations from across Canada and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1974.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lynne Groulx – Executive Director – 613-722-3033  X223 – 1-800-461-4043  lgroulx@nwac.ca
Joël Lamoureux – Media Relations Officer – 613-722-3033 X100 – Cell 343-997-1354  jlamoureux@nwac.ca

NWAC KICKS OFF THE 5TH ANNUAL ABORIGINAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP NETWORK CONFERENCE IN SASKATOON, SK

February 15, 2018

SASKATOON, SK – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is pleased to announce the beginning of the 5th Annual Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network (AWBEN) Conference.  This year the conference takes place February 14 – 16 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with more than one hundred registered participants.

These women are examples of leadership and true entrepreneurial spirit. Participants will further enhance their knowledge and skills at this AWBEN event.  Since 2012, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) have sponsored the event.  AWBEN addresses the very specific and unique challenges that Aboriginal women entrepreneurs face in business.  At the AWBEN conference, participants will learn, grow and network in a culturally supportive environment.  Within this conference is a strong focus on sustainable initiatives driven by community leadership.

NWAC Executive Director, Lynne Groulx says, “Indigenous women in business are some of the most dedicated and passionate entrepreneurs on the planet.  These women experience more hurdles than most in business.  Participants this weekend will leave with overflowing business toolkits ultimately leading to even more success.  NWAC welcomes this year’s Indigenous entrepreneurs and wishes each of them swift success in their individual businesses.”

This year’s AWBEN conference includes discussion panels, presentations, educational seminars and leadership relevant all levels of entrepreneurs.  The content for the weekend will include business planning, idea development, social media for entrepreneurs, funding, public relations, live business pitches and more.

Please share your experience and feedback using #AWBEN2018.
Follow the success stories and get involved by visiting www.awben.org.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx – Executive Director – 613-722-3033  X223 – 1-800-461-4043  lgroulx@nwac.ca
Joël Lamoureux – Media Relations Officer – 613-722-3033 X100 – Cell 343-997-1354  jlamoureux@nwac.ca

MEDIA RELEASE – NWAC CALLING FOR REAL CHANGE TO JUSTICE SYSTEM

February 13, 2018

OTTAWA, ON – The Native Women’s Association of Canada adds their voice calling for real change to the Canadian justice system.  NWAC has been struggling to find the words to make a statement.   Most importantly, our thoughts are with the Boushie family, the Red Pheasant Nation and the people of Saskatchewan during this difficult time.

Justice was not served by this verdict and Colten Boushie is being victimized for a second time. NWAC President, Francyne Joe said, “As a mother I can’t begin to comprehend how this family must feel.  Consistently, Indigenous victims of violence are blamed for their victimization – the victims are put on trial. It happened to Tina Fontaine and now to Colten Boushie. It must stop.”

Upon learning of the verdict, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the justice system “…must do better.” Colten Boushie will not have a chance to speak.  This tragedy cannot be separated from the racism Indigenous people face every day.  The injustice is historic and the systemic racism continues to regulate Indigenous people as second-class citizens.  Very little progress has been made to right the wrongs of the past and the injustice in the system continues.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis continues and horrific acts of violence continue.  Indigenous youth are being denied full and productive lives and fear in our communities is rooted in daily life.  As mothers, we are asking, “Will our child be next?”  As grand mothers, we are asking, “Will my family be next?” As women, we are asking, “Will I be next?”

NWAC continues to stand with all Indigenous peoples, united and fighting for real change and real justice.  NWAC calls on the Federal Government and the Canadian justice system to be better and ‘do better’ for the Indigenous people of many Nations on this land.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx – Executive Director – 613-722-3033  X223 – 1-800-461-4043  EMAIL

Joël Lamoureux – Media Relations Officer – 613-722-3033 X100- Cell 343-997-1354  EMAIL

150 KM WINTER WALK FOR SECOND MMIWG INQUIRY IN NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN

February 9, 2018 – Ottawa, ON

Family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls from Northern Saskatchewan are in Saskatoon today to participate in a walk from the capital city, northward into Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness to the fact that almost one hundred families have not had the opportunity to offer statements in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The original idea for the walk came from Pernell Ballantyne. Mr. Ballantyne’s sister, Monica Lee Burns was the victim of a murder in Prince Albert, SK. This is the second time organizing a walk following his first successful walk in 2015. “These missing and murdered women do not have a voice and justice has only heard one side of their story,” states Mr. Ballantyne. He added, “When the National Inquiry came to Saskatchewan, many families weren’t notified in time to make statements. At this moment, almost one hundred families have yet to share the voice of their missing and murdered family members. Women are sacred, and this walk will bring awareness for the need to have a second inquiry for northern Saskatchewan families.”

His co-organizers, Conrad Burns and Patricia Crowe are supporting the walk and are making the journey with him. Additionally, the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation, a Provincial Member of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, is providing strong local support. Judy Hughes, president of the SAWCC says, “It is crucial that the National Inquiry completes a second round of hearings in Saskatchewan to engage northern families, and that the National Inquiry is extended to a minimum of four years. Family members carry the hope and solution to helping end violence against Indigenous women and girls. We applaud Pernell and Conrad and wish them well on their journey today”.

Mr. Ballantyne and supporters will begin the walk at noon Central Time in Saskatoon, SK. The roughly one hundred and fifty-kilometre walk will take approximately sixty hours to complete. Organizers are requesting a second round of “statement gathering” from the National Inquiry in northern Saskatchewan so that those nearly one hundred families can share their stories.

For more than four decades, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has worked to document the systemic violence affecting Indigenous women, their families, and communities.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

 

Lynne Groulx – Executive Director
Native Women’s Association of Canada
lgroulx@nwac.ca

Joël Lamoureux – Media Relations Officer
jlamoureux@nwac.ca

NWAC Reprimands Media For Coverage in Tina Fontaine Murder Trial

OTTAWA, ON – February 1, 2018

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is adamantly opposed to the media’s use of victim-blaming rhetoric and negative, unfounded stereotypes in their reporting in the Tina Fontaine murder trial.

Media outlets must instead focus on the actions of the accused. Victim blaming and focusing on narratives that perpetuate damaging stereotypes and myths about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls serve no purpose but to harm victims, survivors, and their families as they try to begin their healing process.  Tina Fontaine is not on trial.

NWAC calls on all members of the media to deeply consider the narratives they engage in and consider the damage to Indigenous families.  Consider the stereotypes and myths on which narratives are based before constructing stories and headlines that harm communities and families who are suffering.  NWAC works with these families and regularly witnesses the damage that negative media language and thoughtless coverage causes.

Tina deserves better. Tina’s family deserves better. The public deserves better.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx                                         Joël Lamoureux
Executive Director                                Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033  x223                               613-722-3033 x100
1-800-461-4043                                     1-800-461-4043

EMAIL LYNNE                                      EMAIL JOËL

Follow NWAC on: Twitter –  FacebookInstagram      www.nwac.ca

 

NWAC Brings the Voice of Many Nations of Women to Emergency CFS Ottawa Meeting

OTTAWA, ON – January 25, 2018

Representatives from Indigenous groups as well as government officials gathered in Ottawa for an emergency meeting on Indigenous child welfare issues in Canada.  Minister of Indigenous Services, The Honourable Jane Philpott, has stated that the issue of child welfare affecting Indigenous children in Canada has become a humanitarian crisis.

After the first day of a two day summit, voices from across the country are being heard.  The Native Women’s Association of Canada was embedded in meaningful conversation with leaders of communities and government stakeholders.  President Francyne Joe stated, “Indigenous women from the many nations in this country reach out to NWAC on a daily basis confirming the need to represent their voices and be a conduit to initiate change.”  The President added, “We take this responsibility seriously and we are here to represent Indigenous women as we have since 1974.  These generational issues ranging from foster care, health care and overall child welfare are pillars of importance, and we anticipate that this summit will finally initiate tangible change for the future”.

For more than 40 years NWAC has advocated on behalf of Indigenous women and today we shared the voice of these women at this historic emergency meeting.  President Joe said, “It is an incredibly complicated matter that we can’t undo in two days.  However, today we touched on important questions regarding policy on foster care and the removal of Indigenous children from their homes, the value of keeping Indigenous culture at all times for children that enter foster care and equality in health care for Indigenous children.  This is just scratching the surface, but we are encouraged.”

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx                                         Joël Lamoureux
Executive Director                                Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033  x223                               613-722-3033 x100
1-800-461-4043                                     1-800-461-4043

EMAIL LYNNE                                      EMAIL JOËL

Follow NWAC on: Twitter –  FacebookInstagram      www.nwac.ca

NWAC DISMAYED WITH ONGOING ISSUES AT NATIONAL INQUIRY

OTTAWA, ON – January 11, 2018

The Native Women’s Association of Canada was shocked and outraged to learn today that Debbie Reid, Executive Director of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has resigned.

First and foremost, our thoughts are with survivors of violence and with the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls who are again having to endure very upsetting news from the Inquiry.  These families have faced insurmountable obstacles coming to terms with personal tragedy; this resignation creates instability and a further setback at the National Inquiry.

In the second of two report cards issued by NWAC in 2017 on the status of the National Inquiry, it gave failing grades in almost all key areas.  NWAC made definitive recommendations to improve communications, transparency and most other areas of the Inquiry.  These recommendations were made in hopes of bringing the direction of the Inquiry to a more successful pathway.  The continued lack of communication with families and with NWAC points out the operational issues at the National Inquiry.  NWAC is deeply concerned that the ongoing operational failures will damage what remaining trust and belief families may still have in the inquiry.

NWAC strongly believes that in order for the National Inquiry to be a success, it must re-examine its administrative issues and operations.   Most importantly, survivors and families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls must come first.  These families are left in the dark and are learning the on-goings of the inquiry through sporadic and at times anecdotal communications. It is imperative that the National Inquiry’s leaders implement a clear and robust strategy for transparent communication to benefit families and achieve a successful outcome.30 –
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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
613-722-3033  X223
1-800-461-4043  EMAIL

 

Joël Lamoureux
Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033 X100
1-800-461-4043  EMAIL

 

 

Follow NWAC on: Twitter –  FacebookInstagram      www.nwac.ca

NWAC Congratulates Jeannette Corbiere -Lavell on Being Awarded the Order of Canada

January 5, 2018 (Ottawa, ON)  The Native Women’s Association of Canada extends heartfelt congratulations to Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell on her appointment to the Order of Canada (C.M).

Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell has created a legacy of accomplishments throughout her lifetime for Indigenous women and this rare distinction honours her work. Through her dedication and tireless efforts to empower Indigenous women, the fruits of her contributions will be recognized for generations to come.

As a Past President of NWAC, her foresight and visionary ideas helped create opportunities and programs to challenge policy and open the doors of possibility.  To this date, those ideas continue to positively shape lives and empower Indigenous women from coast to coast.  NWAC President Francyne Joe stated, “The work that NWAC does for Indigenous women today is partly made possible by the incredible amount of work and commitment that Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell dedicated her life too. Without her contributions we would not have overcome the many seemingly insurmountable obstacles that Indigenous women have had to endure.”

Indigenous sisters everywhere celebrate the honour of Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell receiving the Order of Canada.

Thank you for your passion and innovative vision to empower the Indigenous women of Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx                                         Joël Lamoureux
Executive Director                                Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033  x223                               613-722-3033 x100
1-800-461-4043                                     1-800-461-4043

EMAIL LYNNE                                      EMAIL JOËL

NWAC Voices Support For Indigenous Activist’s Liver Transplant

NWAC VOICES SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS ACTIVIST’S LIVER TRANSPLANT

December 19, 2017

The Native Women’s Association of Canada has voiced support to have Indigenous Activist Delilah Saunders immediately placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

President Francyne Joe stated “We are gravely concerned for the health and wellness of Ms. Saunders and time is of the essence.  Although, we recognize the protocols that must be considered when considering a liver transplant, it is our position that the discriminatory policy that exists in determining recipients is outside of the guidelines of Canada’s international human rights policy.”

Delilah Saunders is recognized internationally for her advocacy of Indigenous women’s rights.  The Native Women’s Association of Canada adds our voice along others such as Amnesty International and Indigenous people throughout Canada to place her name on the liver transplant waiting list.

President Joe added, “She has placed the concerns of Indigenous women as a priority in her daily life and consequently, her own life has suffered.”

NWAC joins the campaign of voices to have Delilah Saunders immediately added to the liver transplant waiting list and calls for an end to the discriminatory policy that is keeping her off the list.  The end of this oppressive policy would allow all people with previous addictions access to life saving treatment.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lynne Groulx Executive Director 613-722-3033 X223 1-800-461-4043 EMAIL
Joël Lamoureux Media Relations Officer 613-722-3033 X100 1-800-461-4043 EMAIL

NWAC Declares Sex-Based Discrimination & Boycotts Ministers Meeting

December 11, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is boycotting a federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) meeting in Gatineau, QC with Ministers from across the country as a consequence of sex-based discrimination.  The Ministers’ Meeting has failed to provide NWAC a seat at the table of National leaders occupied by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Métis National Council (MNC) and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).

This historic FPT meeting of Ministers represents the first time in 30 years that they gather to discuss human rights in Canada.  The Prime Minister’s Office has maintained it has taken a feminist approach working towards gender equality, yet an equal position for women via NWAC is once again not offered.  NWAC President Francyne Joe stated, “The Women of Many Nations are equal rights holders and deserve equal time.  These women are the heart of our communities and deserve a seat at the National table”.  Joe added, “This sex-based discrimination continues to minimize the voice of Indigenous women and the voices of our grass roots organizations”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly committed to building a renewed nation-to-nation relationship between the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples, “based on recognition, respect for rights, co-operation and partnership”.  However, the Government of Canada has unilaterally decided to exclude NWAC from the nation-to-nation framework, choosing to include only AFN, MNC, and ITK.  The narrative the Prime Minister’s Office has chosen: “our work is incomplete, especially for Indigenous Peoples” is indeed incomplete as it fails to equally recognize Indigenous Women and Girls.  This approach fails to recognize or respect that NWAC’s constituency (Indigenous Women and Girls) are not adequately represented by other National Indigenous Organizations.  Furthermore, it denies equality to the national body with which Indigenous women have chosen to represent them on issues that matter most.

This sex-based discrimination continues to minimize the voice of NWAC and the women and girls it represents.   This most recent discrimination is now a growing list of past omissions that includes exclusion for First Ministers’ Meetings (FMM) in October of 2017, December of 2016 and March of 2016.  In addition, NWAC did not receive an invitation to participate in a high-level reconciliation meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office in December of 2016.

NWAC continues to call on the Government of Canada to respect the Indigenous women and girls of Canada and provide an opportunity for equal participation and an equal voice in all future meetings and decisions.

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx                                         Joël Lamoureux
Executive Director                                Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033  x223                               613-722-3033 x100
1-800-461-4043                                     1-800-461-4043

EMAIL LYNNE                                      EMAIL JOËL

 

Follow NWAC on: Twitter –  FacebookInstagram
www.nwac.ca

 

 

NWAC Statement of Support – Bill C-262

NWAC supports Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an invaluable human rights instrument that specifically identifies the rights and socioeconomic prosperity of Indigenous women as key to the survival and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples worldwide. NWAC is particularly pleased to see that the Bill requires that a national action plan for implementing the Declaration be developed in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, and looks forward to being meaningfully engaged on UNDRIP’s applications to Canadian legislation impacting Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirited individuals.

“Our women deserve to be free from violence and discrimination. This right is enshrined in our constitution, but is specifically identified in UNDRIP as necessary to the revitalization and preservation of our cultures and communities.  NWAC has worked towards this common goal for decades, and is pleased to see legislation that explicitly prioritizes Indigenous women’s empowerment and an end to this discrimination.” – President Francyne Joe

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx, Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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

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

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

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

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

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx, Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-277-8831 | Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

NWAC Observes the Trans Day of Remembrance

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

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

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

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

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

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For more information, please contact:

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

lgroulx@nwac.ca

 

NWAC Responds to Latest Version of Bill S-3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Statement Regarding Missing NWAC Faceless Doll Panels, by Francyne Joe

Dear families and friends of our cherished missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,

Some of you may have seen the CBC news story this morning concerning the NWAC Faceless Dolls Project and the discovery that many of them had gone missing. These dolls were lovingly created by you, and by mothers, daughters, sisters, other family members, community members, and concerned citizens to commemorate and to pay tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

When I arrived at NWAC in October 2016, then was joined in November by our new Executive Director, Lynne Groulx, we were informed that approximately six months earlier, the panels containing the dolls that had been exhibited across the country, could not be found. Right away, we began asking questions, trying to determine what had happened to them. This discovery came at a time of great transition and some upheaval, with only a limited number of NWAC staff at the time they went missing.

As a result, we received contradictory stories of what had happened. One story was that they had disappeared while they were in the traveling exhibit. Another story was that they had been returned and were taken by a well-meaning individual, who felt a connection to the panels. We continued to investigate their disappearance, however, we received very little further information or verification. What we do know, is that 11 panels were originally created as part of this project, and only one panel remains under NWAC’s care.

My staff also consulted with an Elder, who shared that because the dolls and the panels had been so lovingly created, as well as the number of ceremonies performed in honour of the dolls, that the panels were considered medicines. This Elder assured us that the dolls are not lost, but rather ‘travelling’, and that one day they may return to NWAC. We received specific instructions on how to feast the remaining panel and how to care for all our sacred items. This is not the first piece of artwork or tangible project related to this work that has ‘travelled’, although it is the first time NWAC has experienced such a situation, and we pray that the panels will be returned to us. If anyone has additional information on what happened to the panels, I would very much welcome it. You will not be held responsible; we simply wish the panels to be returned.

I do want to take this opportunity to, first of all, say that I am sorry that this has happened. Although this happened before I became NWAC President, I take responsibility for this loss, and I am willing to do what it takes to make this right. The loving work by families was truly a tribute to our missing women and girls. I am available if any families wish to speak or meet with me.

I also want to explain why we did not make this information public sooner. We did not wish to cause harm or additional sadness to families and anyone who had created dolls for the panels. We also feared that if we shared this information, that we might put too much pressure on whomever may have the panels, and that they would never come back to us. We were also conscious that some of our former staff were upset that the panels went missing under their watch, and we did not wish to shame or blame. Mistakes were made, and NWAC has taken steps so that this will not happen again. I hope it brings some comfort to know that each and every doll that was part of the original NWAC Faceless Dolls project was photographed and has been catalogued. We are working to have these images uploaded on our website so that the memory of this precious exhibit will continue to touch individuals.

I also wanted to share that the NWAC Faceless Dolls Project continues through the creation of hundreds of NWAC Faceless Dolls Legacy Projects lovingly made by families, communities, and organizations who made their own dolls and display them with great pride and with honour. Although this work is no longer funded, I am touched by how many continue to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls through the creation of legacy projects.

Again, I wish to say that I am sorry that this has happened, and I am available if any family wishes to speak with me.

Merci, Thank You and Miigwetch,

Francyne Joe, President

Association des Femmes Autochtones du Canada – Native Women’s Association of Canada

1 Nicholas St., 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7

613-722-3033 ext 262

NWAC Continues to Support the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S

October 10, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) continues to support the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S) and stresses the importance of approaching the National Inquiry with a Trauma-Informed lens.

“While there has been discussion about the need for the Commissioners and staff to apply a trauma-informed lens on all aspects of the National Inquiry work—for example, by being honest and transparent with what MMIWG2S families can expect at every stage of participation—,” shared NWAC President Francyne D. Joe, “NWAC is asking that we all remain mindful of the need to apply a trauma-informed lens when discussing the National Inquiry.”

This is not to say that we cannot be critical of the National Inquiry, there are issues that need to be resolved and many, NWAC included, are looking for reassurances that our concerns are being heard and plans are being put in place to ensure improvements are made. NWAC will continue to release Report Cards as well as work directly with the National Inquiry to provide guidance and support.

Applying a trauma-informed lens to discussions around the National Inquiry respects the reality that many families are counting on this important work. More than 750 individuals have registered to participate in some way with the National Inquiry. Several dozen have also provided testimony and evidence at the Whitehorse, YK and Smithers, BC Family Hearings. There are also long time advocates that came to NWAC and asked for us to support a call for a National Public Inquiry and these relationships continue to be honoured.

“As I continue to travel to country and our sister organizations continue to provide on-the-ground support to families,” explained NWAC President Joe, “we hear from families that are looking forward to participating, many considering sharing their story for the first time. These realities need to be considered every time the National Inquiry is criticized because these critiques do not stand in isolation but rather are connecting to the lives and experiences of the women, Two-Spirit people and families impacted by this violence.”

The presence of the National Inquiry itself also represents the first time Canadians may be introduced to the issue of MMIWG2S. We want the public to hear from families and learn about the root causes of this violence. And, similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we want Canadians to be empathetic and want to be part of a movement for social change. Disparaging the National Inquiry is distracting from the real issue and takes space away from the experiences of families.

“At the same time, we know that there are families that are calling for a ‘reset’ and NWAC respects every family’s choice to participate in any way they wish,” shared NWAC President Joe, adding, “[h]owever, until we hear from hundreds of families from all across the country, NWAC will remain committed to this process and continue to reiterate that we have a vested interest in the success of the National Inquiry.”

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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
lgroulx@nwac.ca

NWAC’s Voice Silenced Once Again at First Ministers Meeting

 October 3, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was not invited to the First Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) on sustainable economic growth. NWAC’s exclusion from the October 3rd 2017 meeting has once again silenced the voices of Indigenous women at the federal level.

An aggregate of twelve Indigenous women’s organizations, NWAC represents the political voice of Indigenous women in Canada. NWAC President Francyne Joe stated “NWAC represents many Nations of Indigenous women who are life holders and water carriers. Canada must recognize that Indigenous women have established NWAC as their representative body at the regional, provincial, territorial, national and international levels.”

NWAC was previously excluded from First Ministers’ Meetings held March of 2016 and on December 9th, 2016, as well as from a high-level reconciliation meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office on December 8th, 2016.

Indigenous women are being systematically excluded from the Nation-to-Nation relationship with this government. “ Indigenous women have been disenfranchised long enough” stated Joe “They have suffered from historic injustices as a result of colonization, including loss of identity, dispossession of their lands, territories, and resources, which increases the many forms of discrimination and  violence against them.”

The existing nation-to-nation framework fails to decolonize Canada’s relationship with Indigenous women. “Its 2017 and we will no longer put up with these exclusionary actions. NWAC must be part of all Nation-to-Nation discussions” stated President Joe. NWAC is calling for the Government of Canada to ensure NWAC’s inclusion at all future meetings, and promote the active and equal participation of Indigenous women in decision-making.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-277-8831
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

NWAC Calls for Resignation of Senator Lynn Beyak

September 18, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – In response to the racist opinions stated by Senator Lynn Beyak, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling for her resignation and removal from the Senate of Canada.  NWAC considers Senator Beyak’s recent comments regarding First Nations people and the Indian Act to be directly supportive of cultural genocide and a threat to the distinct rights of Indigenous women.

NWAC President Francyne Joe elaborated on the impact of the Senator’s public statements in relation to NWAC’s work in advocacy, policy, and legislation.  “Right now, we are challenging the denial of our rightful place in the nation-to-nation relationship.  We are advocating for the decolonization of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples through the restoration of Indigenous women’s equal role in decision-making.”

“Senators are to bring wisdom and conscience to the work of legislating policy within a human rights framework.  By silencing our voices at the national level and giving political power to those whose ideas support assimilation and deny our identities, this nation is allowing systemic racism and sexism to continue.”

NWAC took issue with Beyak’s choice to highlight the implied positive aspects of residential schools instead of their horrific legacy through comments made in the Senate during March of 2017. Beyak has also made comments that were especially hurtful to transgender and Two-Spirit Indigenous peoples in Committee.

NWAC has identified the removal of sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act as a priority issue and feels compelled to take action to encourage Beyak’s removal from the Senate.  “It is unacceptable for a person who holds such racist opinions to be in a position to exert authority during the work to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act through Bill S-3,” confirmed Joe.

“Racist and ignorant perspectives continue to be heard over the marginalized voices of Indigenous women,” concluded Joe.  “Indigenous women must be given a more powerful voice at the national level in order to remove systemic barriers to our empowerment.”

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-277-8831
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

National Voice of Indigenous Women Silenced at Federal Level

September 8, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has not received an invitation to attend the First Ministers’ Meeting announced on September 7th, 2017.  “The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada is continuing a nation-to-nation approach that deliberately excludes Indigenous women’s perspectives on decisions affecting their lives,” stated NWAC President Francyne D. Joe.

The First Ministers’ Meeting on October 3rd will address the implementation of the Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and sustainable economic growth. It has been documented that climate change has the biggest impact on those living in poverty, a group in which Indigenous women and children are overly represented.  When Indigenous people are displaced from land through colonization, climate change, and pollution, they are impacted mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There is a profound impact on maternal health, economic security, and the ability to share cultural knowledge across generations.

“In order to recognize the value of Indigenous women and their communities, advance Indigenous rights, and combat gender inequality, Indigenous women must be involved in emergency planning, environmental sustainability, and climate change discussions,”elaborated Joe.

“This model for renewed relationships ignores the critical need for a gendered lens in decision-making. It devalues Indigenous women’s roles as equal representatives for their people and silences NWAC as the representative body that Indigenous women have established to advocate on their behalf at the national level.”

NWAC was excluded from the First Ministers’ Meetings held in March of 2016 and on December 9th, 2016, as well as a high-level reconciliation meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office on December 8th, 2016.  “The existing nation-to-nation framework fails to decolonize Canada’s relationship with Indigenous women,” emphasizes Executive Director Lynne Groulx.  “When our perspectives are ignored the government perpetuates structural inequality against all Indigenous women. It places Indigenous women as a secondary priority.”

“Indigenous women are strong, resilient, and deserve to speak for themselves and set priorities at the highest level. Our message to Prime Minister Trudeau is that nation building and reconciliation are Indigenous women’s issues,” concluded Joe.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-277-8831
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

New Federal Structure for Indigenous Affairs Must Include Full Consultation with Indigenous Women

August 29, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – As the Government of Canada announces the establishment of two new departments designated to undertake the work formerly performed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the Native Women’s Association of Canada affirms the need for its inclusion in the decision-making processes surrounding the structure and implementation of the changes.

“The Government of Canada has prioritized its needs by creating two new departments without the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous women,” stated NWAC President Francyne D. Joe.  The duty to consult with the institutions representing Indigenous peoples is recognized by Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and affirmed by Article 35 of the Constitution Act.  “Having not been consulted, we are now suddenly in the position of building the capacity to engage with both the Ministers of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and Indigenous Services,” said Joe.

“The dual approach may present a risk that the new delegation of responsibilities will create further bureaucratic barriers to the empowerment of Indigenous women.  The needs of communities must be the priority.  We expect to be full participants in decision making on any issue that effects Indigenous women and girls, including the formation of structural changes.”

“It has taken 20 years for the Government to implement the recommendation of the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) to reorganize INAC into new, separate departments.  Embracing the spirit of RCAP also requires the fulfillment of its recommendation that the full and fair representation of women in decision making is assured,” continued Joe.

“The creation of two new departments may present an opportunity to better define our role in the Crown-Indigenous and nation-to-nation relationship,” said Joe.  NWAC has outlined the ways in which the current federal government does not support the meaningful inclusion of Indigenous women in its position paper, Nation-to-Nation and Indigenous Women.  “The nation-to-nation framework must be expanded to include NWAC, in recognition of the critical need for a gendered lens on all matters affecting the well-being of Indigenous women and girls.  This includes legislative and administrative measures such as those announced by the Office of the Prime Minister.  I look forward to working with Minister Bennett and Minister Philpott on ways to enhance the well-being of Indigenous women and girls.”

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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