NWAC Stands with Downtown Eastside Today During 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March

NWAC Stands with Downtown Eastside Today During 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March


(February 14, 2016) (Ottawa, ON/Vancouver, BC)
― Today, for the 26th consecutive year, the Annual Women’s Memorial March for missing and murdered Indigenous women took place on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This march is held to honour the memory of all those who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence in the region.

The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia has seen some of the most horrific violence against Indigenous women and girls in the country. As a result of police inaction, racism, sexism, poverty and socio-economic structures which continue to disproportionately disadvantage Indigenous women and girls, the Downtown Eastside has seen more than 100 Indigenous women murdered. This is unacceptable.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says: “Twenty-six years ago, rather than succumbing to grief, grassroots feminist activists boldly took to the streets to honour these stolen sisters from the Downtown Eastside. Today, we will continue to march on in a way that only Indigenous women can. NWAC is proud to stand with you. Thank you for your unwavering grace and strength amid this sorrow. My heart is with you.”

Nikki Fraser, Western Youth Representative for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says: “Today, both here in BC and across Canada, we must look to our Elders and our traditions, and refocus our efforts to end violence against our sisters. We must ensure that our daughters do not have to witness these tragedies reoccur.”

NWAC will continue to put pressure on the federal government to ensure the forthcoming national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women provides healing and justice to every region of this country where families are touched by these tragedies – the Downtown Eastside included.

NWAC’s thoughts and prayers are with the families (both within and beyond bloodlines) yearning for peace and reconciliation amid these tragedies. We hope that your hearts might know peace today. Together – we will achieve justice.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nations, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women in Canada.

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For more information or for media inquiries:

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)
[email protected]

Press Conference on Inquiry into MMIWG on Sunday, January 31 in Ottawa

Press Conference on Inquiry into MMIWG to be held on Sunday, January 31st at 12:00 p.m. EST in Ottawa

 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), and the Canadian Journal of Women in Law (CJWL) are hosting a symposium on the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women on January 30 and 31, 2016 at the University of Ottawa.

Forty five women from across Canada ― Indigenous women and allies ― will meet with six international human rights experts from the United Nations and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights during this private symposium. Also in attendance at the Symposium will be Caroline Bettinger Lopez, who is the Advisor to the White House on Violence against Women.

PLEASE NOTE: This symposium is invite only, however, a press conference will be held on Sunday, January 31st at 12:00 p.m. EST at the University of Ottawa on the 3rd floor of Desmarais Building in room DMS 3105. All media, local and national, are warmly encouraged to attend. Media can expect insight into the ideas and dialogue that emerge throughout this historic two-day symposium.


QUOTES

“This is an historic meeting. Never before has Canada hosted an international group of this nature to discuss the rights of Indigenous women and girls. We look forward to exploring the ways in which a national inquiry can work as a practical, effective mechanism for holding Canada to account and finding real ways to make systemic change happen.”
-Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)

“The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women is a massive undertaking. Major issues must be examined such as policing and social and economic policies that are known to perpetuate Indigenous women’s vulnerability to violence. We are confident that this symposium will help put some of these pressing issues on the table.”
-Sharon McIvor, Executive Director of the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA-AFAI)

“Violence against Indigenous women is a crisis in Canada and we cannot look away. And that’s exactly why we’re here this weekend; prepared to tackle this head on.”
-Fay Blaney, Downtown East Side Women’s Centre, feminist activist

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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: [email protected]