NWAC Mourns Life of Delaine Copenace; Renews Call for Immediate Cross-Governmental Action to End Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls

(March 23, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is devastated to learn of yet another daughter stolen from us. The remains of 16 year-old Delaine Copenace of the Onigaming Nation were found yesterday (Tuesday, March 22, 2016) near her home community of Kenora, Ontario.

As the groundswell of community vigils and public search parties would indicate over the past month since she went missing, Delaine Copenace was a girl who was loved and cherished by all those who knew her.

NWAC continues to demand immediate concerted action on the part of both the federal government and all provincial and territorial governments to stop this National epidemic from perpetuating. NWAC maintains that the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls along with Ontario’s new investments are positive first steps – but that we require acknowledgement and cooperation from authorities, from all provinces and territories, and all public institutions in order to reconcile these realities and move forward together.

In light of this heartbreaking tragedy, NWAC seeks to extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the Copenance family, to all Onigaming peoples, to all family members who may experience re-traumatization in learning of this tragedy, and to the entire community of Kenora who have fought hard since late February to find this beautiful young girl. You are in our hearts.

QUOTE

“I wish to send my deepest condolences to all family members, friends and to the entire extended Kenora community as they cope with the loss of Delaine. These senseless acts of violence against our young daughters must end now. Canada must rectify the socio-economic structures that discriminate against our girls and our women to prevent these tragedies from perpetuating. We light a candle in memory of this young stolen sister, and we continue to embark on our journey together to end violence in all its forms against Indigenous women and girls. We will not stop until the violence stops.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

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 Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women in Canada.

 

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

 

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

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

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

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