NWAC Left Out of Over 100 Engagement Sessions on Federal Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework
Ottawa, ON – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is deeply alarmed the Government of Canada’s Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework will not recognize, represent or implement Indigenous women’s rights, voices or perspectives. Any Indigenous Rights Framework will fail if the federal government does not include NWAC as a full and equal participant.
Since February 14th, 2018, the department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNA) held over 100 engagement sessions on the framework with over 1,600 participants. NWAC was not invited to a single engagement session.
As the only National Indigenous Organization representing all Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people, NWAC must be a full and equal partner throughout this process. The omission of NWAC from these discussions is discrimination and only further marginalizes Indigenous women.
Minister Carolyn Bennett stated on International Women’s Day 2018, “(t)o ensure the Framework is truly representative of the rights, needs and interests of all Indigenous peoples, we are making a special effort to ensure women’s voices are heard.” Thus far, Bennett has muted the voices of Indigenous women.
Minister Bennett wants to know “how to effectively dismantle colonial, patriarchal structures.” NWAC has answers.
NWAC must be included in discussions to represent the voices of Indigenous women in the development of this framework and to ensure their rights are implemented. We can provide the critical gender-based perspective for this framework to effectively represent all Indigenous women’s rights and voices. As the most vulnerable group in Canada, it is appalling the federal government is not taking more action to renew this relationship.
It is already too late for us to have equal participation, but it is not too late for NWAC to be a full and equal partner and to hear Indigenous women’s voices.
“The federal government continuously ignores and excludes NWAC from critical-decision making tables and discussions. A renewed relationship respects Indigenous women as equal partners. I fail to see how the current process for this framework includes and values Indigenous women as equals,” said NWAC President Francyne Joe.
“NWAC’s representation is fully inclusive and unique as we represent a multitude of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people who are First Nations, Métis and Inuit. These women can be status, non-status, disenfranchised, on reserve or off reserve. Without NWAC’s participation, many of these women are being left out and their voices ignored,” said NWAC President Francyne Joe.
For more information please contact Lucy Juneau, Director of Communications