NWAC STATEMENT ON MANITOBA ADVOCATE FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH REPORT

*** This content could be triggering as it contains information on MMIWG and child welfare***

Ottawa, ON — On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, the Manitoba Advocate for Children & Youth (MACY) released a report on the numerous systems designed to protect vulnerable youth in the city that failed Tina Fontaine leading up to her death. NWAC sends our support to Tina Fontaine’s family, loved ones and community during this difficult time.

This report demonstrates the desperate need for coordination amongst services. Communities and families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) have asked for these services for far too long.

Throughout the National Inquiry into MMIWG, NWAC heard the urgent need for timely, accessible, culturally-appropriate mental health services and supports, and the importance of reforming the child welfare system. This report also reflects the urgency of addressing these issues.  

We must move towards prevention, as opposed to reaction. We need readily available, accessible, culturally-appropriate mental health services and supports within our communities, and greater, more coordinated, responses for our urban youth as well.

NWAC calls for widespread recognition of the importance of customary and traditional care arrangements. The role of extended family in caring for children must be encouraged and respected in order to keep communities and families together.

NWAC commends the Manitoba Advocate for Children & Youth for this difficult, but essential report. We must continue to work tirelessly to end violence and create safety for Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people and their communities.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications
[email protected] | 343-997-3756

NWAC MEETS WITH THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE

Ottawa, ON—Today, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) met with the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan, and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef.

After the historic signing of the Canada-NWAC Accord, this is the second step in establishing a renewed relationship where NWAC is recognized as a full and equal participant.

Discussions included the implementation of the Canada-NWAC Accord and the importance of our participation in the development of all policies, programs, and legislation to ensure a culturally-relevant gender based lens is applied. NWAC’s leadership and expertise ensures the specific and necessary inclusion of Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.

NWAC stressed the need for social and cultural innovation initiatives including funding for culturally appropriate healing and healthcare services. With the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls closing, there is an urgent need for healing. NWAC’s upcoming Resiliency Centre led the dialogue, as it will facilitate important healing, honouring and commemoration resources and activities in NWAC’s new building.

NWAC also advocated for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Ongoing collaboration between NWAC and Canada on these key items is vital to advance a reconciliation process to decolonize, creating policies, programs, and legislation that enables self-determination, safety, and justice.

NWAC is optimistic this is the beginning of a productive dialogue, and an indication of Canada’s commitment to Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.

After decades of discrimination the #WomenOfNWAC deserve nothing less than full equality and inclusion, followed by tangible action. #OurVoicesMatter

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications.

[email protected] 343-997-3756

NWAC MEETS WITH NATIONAL COORDINATION OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN IN COLOMBIA (CONAMIC) TO SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND BUILD SOLIDARITY

Ottawa, ON- The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) met with delegates from the National Coordination of Indigenous Women in Columbia (CONAMIC) to discuss shared priorities and issues.

NWAC and CONAMIC found similarities among our Indigenous women including disproportionate rates of violence and human trafficking and difficulty reporting missing women or navigating the justice system.

NWAC emphasized the importance of international human rights mechanisms like the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in our advocacy work both domestically and internationally and highlighted the necessity of taking a culturally relevant gender-based approach to this work.

“It is not just about Indigenous rights, we need gender based rights as well,” said Lynne Groulx, NWAC’s Executive Director.

Sharing knowledge and building solidarity among Indigenous women globally is a key tenant of NWAC’s international advocacy. NWAC and CONAMIC will work to form an alliance together to collaborate on shared issues, policy priorities, and the political empowerment of Indigenous women.

“We are forming a sisterhood of support between Indigenous women globally,” said Groulx.

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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications 343-997-3756 – [email protected]

Native Women’s Association of Canada Signs Accord

With the common goals of establishing a renewed Nation-to-Nation relationship between Indigenous Nations and Canada, the Government of Canada and the Native Women’s Association signed an Accord on February 1, 2019. The Accord will recognize NWAC as a full participant in decision-making processes at the national and international levels.

This Accord means Canada will work with NWAC to establish a reconciliation building process to decolonize, which includes meetings with the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers responsible for policy development and key federal Cabinet Ministers.

For too long, the voices of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people have been silenced. Through this Accord, their perspectives and political voices will be heard and will assist the development and design process of programs, services, policies and laws.

Since 1974, NWAC has advocated for women, girls, gender diverse people and families of many Indigenous Nations, fighting for an inclusive world that understands and respects their diversity and uniqueness.

This historic Accord will allow NWAC and Canada to collaboratively address policy priorities including health and well-being (with particular attention to mental health), economic empowerment, youth well-being and leadership, environmental protection, housing, education, overrepresentation of Indigenous women in prisons, and international relationships, all of which directly affect the lives and rights of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people.

NWAC and Canada agreed it is a shared priority to empower Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, as leaders, in the design and the co-development of laws, programs services, operational practices and policies.

This Accord is a significant step towards healing and reconciliation. It’s time to end the legacy of colonialism, colonial attitudes, and gender-based violence wherever they remain in all Federal legislation, institutions, policies and operational practices.


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For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications [email protected] 343-997-375

                                                         

NWAC ANNOUNCES NEW LGBTQ2S+ UNIT

(Ottawa, ON) NWAC is excited to announce the creation of a new LGBTQ2S+ Unit dedicated to expanding and enhancing its advocacy efforts for Two-Spirit, LGBTQ+, and gender-diverse Indigenous people.

As a group that exists at the intersections of queer and/or transphobia as well as colonial racism, members of the Indigenous LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit communities are disproportionately impacted by violence. Marginalization dramatically decreases the availability and the accessibility of supports and services, meaning Indigenous people who live within these marginalized groups face additional obstacles to accessing basic services.

For these reasons, NWAC is working purposefully towards filling the remaining gaps in our services and advocacy in order to better reflect the strength and diversity of our communities. Part of these efforts led to the creation of a LGBTQ2S+ Unit, focusing on education, outreach, and policy development.

NWAC’s LGBTQ2S+ Unit is committed to repairing and strengthening relationships with community members and organizations already engaged with this work. To begin this process, we have created two new positions in education and policy. If you have any questions, concerns, or want to share your thoughts on the new Unit’s direction, please feel free to contact:

RJ Jones – LGBTQ2S+ Educator – [email protected] – (343) 997-7626

Kim Wakeford – LGBTQ2S+ Policy Advisor – [email protected] – (613) 410-1501

The Unit is launching a survey to gather anonymous preliminary information on specific needs and barriers faced by Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous women and non-binary people. This information will guide the Unit’s future activities and shape policy, education, and language priorities.

Access the survey here: https://s.surveyplanet.com/QDbEd0Mle

If you or someone you know would like to fill out the survey, but do not have regular access to the Internet, please let us know and we will mail you a hard copy.

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L’AFAC ANNONCE SON NOUVEAU SERVICE LGBTQ2E+

OTTAWA (Ontario) – L’AFAC est fière d’annoncer la création d’un nouveau service LGBTQ2E+ voué au développement et à la mise en valeur de ses efforts de plaidoyer en faveur des personnes autochtones Deux-Esprits, LGBTQ+ et de diverses identités de genre.

En tant que groupe qui existe aux intersections entre la notion de « queer » (que l’on traduit par « altersexualité » et « allosexualité »), la transphobie et le racisme colonial, les membres autochtones des communautés LGBTQ+ et Deux-Esprits sont touchées de façon disproportionnée par la violence. La marginalisation réduit énormément la disponibilité et l’accessibilité de soutiens et de services; les Autochtones qui vivent au sein de ces groupes marginalisés sont confrontées à des obstacles additionnels lorsqu’il s’agit d’accéder à des services de base.

Pour ces raisons, l’AFAC travaille résolument à combler les écarts qui restent dans nos services et nos actions de plaidoyer afin de mieux refléter les forces et la diversité de nos communautés. Ces efforts ont mené notamment à la création d’un service LGBTQ2E+, axé sur l’éducation, le rayonnement et l’élaboration de politiques.

Le service LGBTQ2E+ de l’AFAC est déterminé à rétablir et renforcer les relations avec les membres des communautés et les organisations déjà engagées dans ce travail. Pour lancer le processus, nous avons créé deux nouveaux postes en matière d’éducation et de politiques. Si vous avez des questions ou des préoccupations ou si vous voulez faire savoir à la direction du nouveau service ce que vous en pensez, n’hésitez pas à communiquer avec :

Le service LGBTQ2E+ lance un sondage pour recueillir de l’information préliminaire anonyme sur les besoins des personnes autochtones Deux-Esprits, LGBTQ+ et non binaires. Cette information guidera les activités du service à l’avenir et modèlera ses priorités en matière de politiques, d’éducation et de langues.

Pour accéder au sondage en ligne : https://s.surveyplanet.com/QDbEd0Mle

Si vous voulez répondre au sondage, mais n’avez pas toujours accès à l’Internet, faites-nous le savoir et nous vous enverrons le sondage sur papier par la poste; la même chose s’applique à toute autre personne de votre connaissance qui serait dans cette situation.

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L’AFAC CÉLÈBRE SA 44e ASSEMBLÉE GÉNÉRALE ANNUELLE

L’Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) a célébré sa 44e assemblée générale annuelle en fin de semaine avec son conseil d’administration et des déléguées de tout le pays, qui ont adopté le règlement administratif no 14 avec un soutien remarquable. Pour célébrer une année de réalisations historiques, l’événement de trois jours a commencé par un gala, suivi de la discussion de questions de grande importance pour les femmes, les filles et les personnes de diverses identités de genre autochtones de partout au pays.

Au gala, la ministre Carolyn Bennett des Relations Couronne-Autochtones a prononcé le discours thème en soulignant l’importance de la guérison et de la résilience.

La ministre des Relations Couronne-Autochtones, Carolyn Bennett, livrant le discours thème de la 44e assemblée générale annuelle de l’AFAC.

Étaient également présents la sous-ministre adjointe d’Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada, Jane Taylor, et un commissaire de l’Enquête nationale sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées, Brian Eyolfson.

« Nous entreprenons notre 45e année avec la direction claire et précise de poursuivre la réalisation de notre mandat, c’est-à-dire l’autonomisation des femmes, des filles et des personnes de diverses identités de genre citoyennes des Premières Nations, inuites et métisses », a déclaré la présidente de l’AFAC, Francyne Joe.

Les déléguées ont adopté des résolutions en matière de politiques pour diriger l’AFAC dans sa 45e année en accord avec le Plan stratégique 2018-2021 du conseil d’administration. L’organisation se concentrera notamment sur la guérison et la résilience, l’inclusivité des personnes LGBTQ+ et bispirituelles/Deux-Esprits, ainsi que sur les questions environnementales.

C’est avec enthousiasme que nous envisageons une autre année remplie de réalisations historiques, y compris la grande ouverture du nouvel immeuble de l’AFAC au début de 2019. Cet immeuble imprégné de culture est un centre d’innovation sociale et culturelle consacré à des activités génératrices de revenus pour l’organisation à but non lucratif. L’immeuble comprendra, entre autres, des locaux d’ateliers pour des projets continus d’appropriation culturelle fondés sur la notion de genre pour les femmes, les filles et les personnes de diverses identités de genre autochtones, ainsi que de la formation à l’intention du secteur public et du secteur privé.

Pour en apprendre davantage au sujet de l’année qui vient à l’AFAC, consultez notre site Web ou communiquez directement avec nous.

POUR OBTENIR PLUS D’INFORMATION : Lucy Juneau, directrice des Communications

343-997-3756 [email protected]

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NWAC CELEBRATES 44TH AGA FRENCH (3)

Apply now for the Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award !!

The Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award is prized at $1,000 and awarded to four (4) Indigenous women, Two Spirit or gender diverse students in Canada who are pursuing a post-secondary education. Students must be studying in law or justice field.

Eligibility Requirements:
 You must be pursuing a post-secondary education in a law or justice related field;
 Award is intended for Indigenous women, Two Spirit and gender diverse individuals;
 You must demonstrate a financial need; and,
 Students must demonstrate a commitment to improving the well-being of Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and gender diverse people in Canada politically, culturally, economically or otherwise.

Blog 2 S-3: Making Sense of “6(1)(a) All the Way”

 

Can you imagine being only “half” Canadian? Imagine your father is Canadian, but your mother had emigrated from another country. Upon birth, you are assigned half of a Canadian citizenship. Your children’s potential Canadian citizenship hangs in the balance, dependent entirely on the person with whom you choose to parent.

Does this even make sense?

Would you be surprised to learn that Indigenous peoples in Canada have faced similar barriers in passing status onto their children? Would you be disheartened to find out that it is predominantly women who have been given “lesser” status because of a hierarchy imposed in 1985 which grants 6(1)(a) status to Indian men, yet a less conferrable 6(1)(c) status to women?

What this means in practice is what is referred to as the second generation cut-off rule: after two generations of a status parent having children with a non-status parent, their descendants lose status. The first generation enjoys 6(1) status, while the following generation is bumped down to 6(2) and finally, the third generation is bumped out entirely.

Bill S-3, while initially working to remove all sex-based inequities within the Indian Act, completely overlooks this unfortunate differentiation.

The “6(1)(a) All the Way” amendment remedies a complex, overwhelming and confusing distinction that has plagued Indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous women, for far too long. Essentially, the amendment looks to extend 6(1) status to all individuals who can trace their ancestry to at least one person who is or would ever have been entitled to be a registered Indian before 1985. The Senate put forth Bill S-3 in May 2017 with this amendment, but Minister Bennett stripped it shortly after.

The amendment is not a new idea; the Liberals proposed it in Opposition in 2010. When the former Conservative government committed to a second round of consultations in amending the Indian Act by way of Bill C-3 in light of Sharon McIvor’s case, Liberal MP Todd Russell proposed the amendment to rectify issues caused by the 1951 cut-off date. It was quickly ruled inadmissible by the Speaker of the House as “being beyond the scope of Bill C-3”.

Once again, the government chose to write the bill in a way that responded solely to the ruling in McIvor’s case, pushing the problem onto a future to-do list, as even Russell stated that “hopefully in the future we will be able to deal with these matters.” That time is now.

NWAC is engaging in national consultations to get your input on Bill S-3 and to tell our government to remove all discrimination from the Indian Act right now. Let’s end the tired tradition of telling indigenous peoples “tomorrow” without actually following through.