NWAC and FAFIA to Address Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on MMIWG

 

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(April 6, 2016) (Washington, DC) – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold a critical hearing following up on its January 2015 report, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia. The hearing will be held, on April 7, 2016 at 3:15 p.m. Eastern in Washington, D.C., and will serve as an opportunity for members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to engage in open dialogue with Canadian officials on what progress has been made on the implementation of the IACHR’s recommendations.

Representatives from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) will deliver a joint presentation to the Commission during this hearing. Speakers will be Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of NWAC;  Sharon McIvor, FAFIA Human Rights Committee Member; and Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA.

This hearing can we streamed online at the IACHR website: http://original.livestream.com/oasenglish2
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded in 1974 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 Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. NWAC is widely recognized as the National voice of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and was instrumental in bringing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada to light. Visit us at nwac.ca or follow us at @NWAC_CA.

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women’s organizations founded following the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. FAFIA’s central goal is to ensure that Canadian governments respect, protect and fulfill the commitments to women that they have made under international human rights treaties and agreements. Visit us at fafia-afai.org or follow us at @FAFIAAFAI.

 

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QUOTE:

“We know from our sisters on the ground in British Columbia, particularly on the Downtown Eastside, that a severe human rights crisis persists in this region resulting in the ongoing discrimination, violence and oppression of our women and girls. The IACHR’s report, released in December 2014, provided a robust framework and analysis toward the context in which Indigenous women and girls continue to go missing and be found murdered in British Columbia. With the national inquiry now underway, it is time for the federal and provincial governments to implement the recommendations found within this report. Violence against Indigenous women and girls must be stopped, and in order for this to happen we must heed recommendations from the international expert community.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

BACKGROUND:

The full IACHR report is available here: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/indigenous-women-bc-canada-en.pdf

NWAC and FAFIA’s history of engagement with the IACHR is available here: http://fafia-afai.org/en/solidarity-campaign/

 

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

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NWAC President, Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Speaks to Plight of Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada at 2016 UN Commission on Status of Women; Receives Standing Ovation


(March 18, 2016) (New York, NY, United States) – Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, was invited to join the sixtieth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which began March 14 and concludes on March 24, 2016 at UN headquarters in New York City.

Yesterday (March 17, 2016), Lavell-Harvard joined an esteemed panel of Indigenous women for a special side-event sponsored by Canada entitled Indigenous Women and Girls: Pathways to Equality. The purpose of this side-event was to examine the underlying factors that contribute to Indigenous women and girls’ abuse, including the longstanding impacts of colonialism, racism and sexism.

Lavell-Harvard’s fellow panelists for this event included Chandra Roy Henriksen, Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Betty Lyons, President and Executive Director of the American Indian Law Alliance, and Mirna Cunningham Kain, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This panel was moderated by Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Panelists spoke collectively to the ongoing need to provide holistic, Indigenous-led approaches to addressing the ongoing discrimination experienced by Indigenous women and girls, including violence and abuse.

Lavell-Harvard’s remarks explored the unique and complex plight of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, which, despite a new and promising government remains serious and demands action. Lavell-Harvard spoke to the grueling and multi-decade long grassroots effort on the part of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and other groups and individual activists from across Canada who worked tirelessly to draw the attention of the international community to the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women –ultimately leading to the national inquiry, now underway.
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QUOTE
“To be born Indigenous and female in a country like Canada means that we are born political. We recognize that Canada has the resources and the infrastructure now to lead the way in ending violence against Indigenous women and girls both domestically and internationally. Though decades of systemic oppression and abuse cannot be reversed overnight, the power of our women can wear away the strongest opposition if we are all united. Together, alongside our international partners, we will end violence against Indigenous women and girls.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
jjefferys@nwac.ca
+1 613-485-1988

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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)
jjefferys@nwac.ca

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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: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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NWAC urges survivors, families and loved ones of MMIWG to actively participate in pre-inquiry consultations

PUBLIC ADVISORY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

(January 19, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― Be advised that the Government of Canada’s pre-inquiry consultation meetings are underway, and they are open to survivors, families, and loved ones of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, as well as representatives of front-line and Indigenous organizations.

This is your opportunity to be heard on the national level. To that end, NWAC urges everyone who is willing to participate to take part in these regional consultations to do so in-person or online.

As of January 19, 2016, here is a list of upcoming meetings:

 

  • Thunder Bay, Ontario: January 6, 2016
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: January 8, 2016
  • Whitehorse, Yukon: January 11, 2016
  • Vancouver, British Columbia: January 13, 2016
  • Prince George, British Columbia: January 15, 2016
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia: January 20, 2016
  • Québec City, Québec: January 21, 2016
  • Montréal, Québec: January 22, 2016
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut: January 29, 2016
  • Toronto, Ontario: February 5, 2016
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba: February 8, 2016
  • Regina, Saskatchewan: February 9, 2016
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: February 10, 2016
  • Edmonton, Alberta: February 11, 2016
  • Calgary, Alberta: February 12, 2016
  • Ottawa, Ontario: February 15, 2016

If you are survivor, family member or loved one and would like to attend one of these meetings, you are asked to email AADNC.EFFAAD-IMMIWG.AANDC@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-877-535-7309.

You are also encouraged to visit the National Inquiry website here.

NWAC continues to respectfully urge the Government of Canada to consult our organization, our sister organizations, and those with Indigenous lived experience every step of the way.

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 Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

 

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For more information or for media inquiries, please contact:

Jenn Jefferys – Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-722-3033 ext. 235 |  jjefferys@nwac.ca

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Invitation to a Meeting with Ministers to design an Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls ― January 5th and January 6th, 2016 in Thunder Bay, Ontario

Dear Survivors, Families and Loved Ones:

On December 8 2015, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of the Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, and the Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, announced the launch of a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

In the first phase of the pre-inquiry design process, we want to hear directly from you on how to design an Inquiry that will result in concrete recommendations to work towards ending violence against Indigenous women and girls.

On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, the Minister of the Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, and Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Carolyn Bennett, are holding a meeting in Thunder Bay, Ontario with survivors, families and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

This event will be held over two days on January 5 and 6, 2016. On January 5, 2016, survivors, families and loved ones will register with our staff and are then encouraged to attend either an afternoon or evening orientation session.

During the orientation, participants will meet each other, share stories and learn more about the process, agenda and what Ministers will be looking for from participants at the January 6, 2016 session.

At the orientation session, we will discuss the kind of information needed from participants in order to inform an inquiry process which is inclusive, respectful and delivers concrete recommendations to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls.

____________________________

January 5, 2016

Registration:
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Orientation sessions:
Session I) 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Session II) 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
____________________________

January 6, 2016

Pre-inquiry design process discussion meeting:
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
____________________________

If you would like to come to these meetings, please inform the MMIWG Pre-Inquiry Secretariat by 5 p.m. Eastern time on January 4, 2016 by calling or emailing either:

Lauren Peirce 1-613-404-5127, LaurenCaroline.Peirce@aandc-aadnc.gc.ca or Cleo Big Eagle at 1-819-635-7332, Cleo.Bigeagle@aandc-aadnc.gc.ca at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

Please let them know if you need help with travel, hotel rooms, translation or childcare.

We realize these meetings deal with topics that may cause trauma to participants due to their troubling subject matter. A toll-free crisis line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: 1-844-413-6649 for anyone who needs help or support.

If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, you may use our website after January 4, 2016 to make a submission on-line, by phone, or regular mail.

For more information, please visit the MMIWG Inquiry website:http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1448633299414/1448633350146

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NEWS ADVISORY: NWAC to partake in historic meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau

NEWS ADVISORY: NWAC to partake in historic meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau



(December 16, 2015) (Ottawa, ON)
― The Native Women’s Association of Canada is honoured to be meeting with the Government of Canada today.

NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard will be meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau to outline our social, political and economic priorities as Indigenous women across Canada.

A subsequent meeting with Ministers Carolyn Bennett, Patty Hajdu and Jodi Wilson-Raybould along with NWAC Board Members from across the country concerning the critical work NWAC has undertaken over its past four decades as an organization, and outlining priorities concerning the forthcoming national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, will be held today also.

These historic meetings will be taking place on Parliament Hill today from 9:00am to 4:00pm EST.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard will have media availability today after 4:30pm EST.

 

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 Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
613-485-1988   |   jjefferys@nwac.ca

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NWAC welcomes long-awaited inquiry into #MMIWG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

As first Canadian national organization to bring issue to light, NWAC welcomes long-awaited inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls



(December 8, 2015) (Ottawa, ON)
― The Native Women’s Association of Canada joins the chorus of voices from coast to coast to coast in celebrating today’s long-awaited announcement from the Government of Canada confirming that a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women is underway.

The Minister for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Status of Women Patty Hajdu, and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould collectively confirmed today that the national inquiry will be launching following a thorough, respectful consultation process with families directly impacted by these tragedies. Additionally, it is confirmed that expert researchers, grassroots Indigenous organizations and NAOs such as NWAC will all be involved and deeply engaged throughout this process.

NWAC President Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard was present for both Prime Minister Trudeau’s address at the Assembly of First Nations’ Special Chiefs Meeting this morning, as well as the subsequent Ministers’ announcements concerning this matter outside the House of Commons on Parliament Hill.

“As the first Canadian organization to spark the international conversation surrounding the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, NWAC is encouraged today,” says Dr. Lavell-Harvard. “Justice for our stolen sisters is long overdue. We will remain central to this process every step of the way.”

For years, NWAC has called on the Government of Canada to hold this national inquiry – not only for our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers – but for our future generations, to ensure that this systemic, racial and gender-based violence is stopped, and that our children can look to the future with optimism. NWAC is hopeful that this Government will at long last work to acknowledge and validate our needs, and will act transparently, compassionately and collaboratively with us – nation-to-nation.

NWAC respectfully urges the Government to continue to consult our organization, our sister organizations, and those who fully comprehend the Indigenous lived experience and seek to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future of reconciled relations. We have a significant amount of work ahead of us, and we must approach this carefully and strategically.

We look forward to working with this new Government, with our allied organizations and with the families of our sisters in spirit on this critical and historic undertaking. We will continue to embark on this journey together, and we will achieve justice for our sisters.
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 Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

 

 

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For more information or for media inquiries, please contact:

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-722.3033 ext. 235 |  jjefferys@nwac.ca

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PRESS RELEASE: NWAC mourns the loss of Karina Wolfe; Renews call for national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

NWAC mourns the loss of Karina Wolfe; Renews call for national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women

 


(December 4, 2015) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada is heartbroken over the death of 20 year-old Karina Wolfe of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Karina was a strong and beautiful young Cree woman from Muskeg Nation.

On November 28th, NWAC’s Executive Elder Judy Hughes visited Saskatoon to pay her respects. Hughes spoke at the 10th anniversary of Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik (Sisters in Spirit Family Group) where a special ceremony took place to honour the life of Karina.

NWAC President Dr. Dawn Harvard says she is troubled by the loss of yet another young Indigenous woman, and that clearly, action must be taken to prevent subsequent tragedies like this one from happening again. “Karina Wolfe was a beautiful woman taken too soon,” said Dr. Harvard. “Clearly, the time for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women is now. We owe it to the Wolfe family and hundreds more like them to end this violence now.”

NWAC looks forward to working collaboratively with the families of our missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country, as well as with the new Minister of Indigenous Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, to finally break ground on this long-awaited historic inquiry.

On behalf of all of our staff and board members across the country, NWAC extends our deepest condolences to Karina’s mother, Carol Wolfe, and to all of Karina’s family and friends at this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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 Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal 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 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor. Ottawa, ON. K1N 7B7
+1 613-656-3016 ext. 235   |   jjefferys@nwac.ca

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