(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.
“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.
Native Women’s Association of Canada