A statement from Lynne Groulx, CEO of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day

Published on June 21, 2023

Press release eng

At the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) we are greeting the 2023 National Indigenous People’s Day with hope, optimism and expectation.

Never, in the six years I have spent as CEO of NWAC, have I felt so encouraged, so confident, that better days lie ahead for the people represented by this organization.

On this day, Indigenous People should reflect upon our accomplishments. Our advocacy is taking root. We are beginning to experience the self-determination and the self-sufficiency we are demanding as we shake off the bonds of colonization.

It is time to celebrate the successes.

Yes, we have a long way to go before Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans and gender-diverse people can feel completely safe when they walk the streets of Canada. But because we would not stay silent, we had a National Inquiry resulting in the Calls to Justice that are the keys to ending the genocide.

Yes, too many Indigenous people – and especially Indigenous women – still live in poverty. But unemployment rates for Indigenous people are a third of what they were 30 years ago. We are becoming entrepreneurs, ands skilled tradespeople. Indigenous people are taking control of their children’s education and graduation rates are rising.

Yes, we must still lobby loudly for justice and equality. But more and more non-Indigenous Canadians are listening, and are standing with us to demand change. A recent poll by Nanos Research suggests that two out of every three Canadians says it is “urgent” for the government to address the tragedy of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

It is our strength and our resilience – and our unwillingness to accept the status quo – that has brought us to this place where hope is overcoming despair. Those qualities are guiding us to a better tomorrow.

Today, I wish everyone the best in their celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, and I look forward to the future.

About The Native Women’s Association of Canada

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

À propos de l'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada

L'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) est une organisation autochtone nationale qui représente la voix politique des femmes, des filles, des transgenres, des bispirituels et des personnes de sexe différent au Canada, y compris les membres des Premières nations vivant dans les réserves et hors réserve, les Indiens inscrits et non inscrits, les personnes privées de leurs droits, les Métis et les Inuits. Regroupant des organisations de femmes autochtones de tout le pays, l'AFAC a été fondée dans le but collectif d'améliorer, de promouvoir et de favoriser le bien-être social, économique, culturel et politique des femmes autochtones au sein de leurs communautés respectives et des sociétés canadiennes.