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Press Release

NWAC relieved to learn that Dawn Walker has been returned to Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

"Indigenous women on both sides of the border are disproportionately represented in domestic assault statistics, and crime statistics in general. We will be watching this case to ensure that Dawn Walker is treated fairly, and that all circumstances of this case, including the fact that she is an Indigenous woman, are taken into consideration.” –NWAC President, Carol McBride.

August 26, 2022

OTTAWA – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is greatly relieved to learn that Dawn Walker, an Okanese Cree woman who is being held in an Oregon jail, has been returned to Canada.

NWAC says is in the best interests of all concerned that Ms. Walker will now be allowed to address charges of parental abduction and public mischief in this country. She fled across the border with her seven-year-old son saying she feared for their safety, and also that she has been the victim of intimate partner abuse and has post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We are relieved to hear that Dawn Walker has been able to waive a lengthy extradition process in the United States and has been returned to Canada,” said NWAC President Carol McBride. Ms. Walker also faces lesser charges of aggravated identity theft and misdemeanour identity theft south in the United States.

“Indigenous women on both sides of the border are disproportionately represented in domestic assault statistics, and crime statistics in general,” said President McBride. “We will be watching this case to ensure that Dawn Walker is treated fairly, and that all circumstances of this case, including the fact that she is an Indigenous woman, are taken into consideration.”

The Supreme Court of Canada determined that Indigenous women who are victims of violence face barriers and discrimination within the justice system, especially when it comes to having their stories of abuse given the same credence that is extended to non-Indigenous women.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls found that the violence directed at Indigenous women in Canada is a genocide, and we know much of that violence is perpetrated by domestic partners. The National Inquiry report also ascribes the high risk of violence to the failure of police and others in the criminal justice system to adequately respond to intimate partner crime, or provide for, the needs of Indigenous women and girls.

The next legal steps taken against her must acknowledge the realities of Indigenous women amidst the ongoing genocide.

“We were gravely concerned that U.S. officials would fail to take full account of the systemic circumstances involved when Indigenous women believe they are not safe, even in reaching out to those mandated to protect them,” said President McBride. “We have the same concerns about the justice system here in Canada, but there are legal rulings in this country that Ms. Walker can rely upon as she deals with the charges laid against her.”

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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.