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

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