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|Jul 28, 2022|
From grassroots communities to the international stage, in the halls of justice and by the rivers and lakes of Canada—each is a stage, a platform, for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The stories you will read in this issue of Shining the Spotlight shine a light on NWAC’s growing influence and impact.
It’s taken a long time to get here, and I couldn’t be prouder. We have an extraordinarily dedicated team of qualified people working on very important files and programs, like the missing and murdered women and girls file.
Armed with the knowledge, views, and perspectives of family members and survivors gleaned through sharing circles, our MMIWG Department has prepared a report with recommendations on safety for the federal government. The Department also curated the art exhibit in our new headquarters. The art pieces by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women artists from across the country not only honours our lost and stolen family members but also underscores the importance of ensuring the safety of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans, and gender-diverse people.
The genocide perpetrated upon Indigenous Peoples in Canada has led to high Indigenous incarceration rates. It’s led to high incidences of sexual assault of Indigenous women. That’s why the recent R v Brown decision by the Supreme Court of Canada is such a landmark decision. The Supreme Court urged Parliament to enact legislation that holds extremely intoxicated people accountable for violent crimes to protect vulnerable victims, particularly women and children.
Our legal team is working hard to balance two interests: the first is to avoid contributing to Indigenous overincarceration rates given that intergenerational trauma as a result of colonization has led to extreme substance misuse among Indigenous people; and the second is to advocate for laws and policies that favour victim-centred and healing frameworks such as resiliency lodges. It’s critical that NWAC continue to collaborate with the Justice Department to help reform the criminal system’s treatment of Indigenous accused and victims.
Internationally, NWAC has built a strong relationship with many actors on the world stage, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. NWAC attended the meeting as part of Canada’s virtual delegation. We also attended the 15th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Through these and other avenues, NWAC is highlighting the human rights issues occurring in Canada and thus advocating for meaningful change for our people.
Other important files we are working on that you will read about in this issue range from our work to promote adequate housing as a right in Canada; to help shape environmental policies and programs, especially those that involve water; to build the skills for Indigenous women entrepreneurs; and to promote and reclaim our traditional languages through the Heritage Language Project.
The work that NWAC is doing in all these spheres, and more, is a testament to the dedicated team we have built here at NWAC. With more secure and stable funding and guided by the goals of a new President, who is very experienced in grassroots. Community issues, NWAC is poised to take the number-one spot as a national Indigenous organization in the country.