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.
―30―

 

 

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

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

―30―

 

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

NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard appointed to Senate Advisory Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

(January 19, 2015) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada seeks to congratulate our elected president, Dawn Lavell-Harvard, PhD., who today was named a member of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, announced the establishment of the Advisory Board today (January 19, 2016), appointing eight members from across Canada, including Lavell-Harvard.

“I am honoured to accept this prestigious appointment,” says Lavell-Harvard. “I look forward to ensuring a high standard of integrity, collaboration, and non-partisanship in the Senate.”

The Advisory Board will be an independent and non-partisan body whose mandate is to provide the Prime Minister with merit-based recommendations on Senate nominations. Currently, there are 22 vacancies in the Senate. Lavell-Harvard will participate in filling those vacancies.

You can read the official announcement from the Government of Canada regarding the new Advisory Board here.

 

 

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.

 

 

―30―

 

For media inquiries or more information, please contact:
Jenn Jefferys – Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-722.3033 ext. 235
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)
jjefferys@nwac.ca

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.

 

 

―30―
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