NWAC prepared to Engage on New Indigenous Rights Framework

OTTAWA, ON-The Native Women’s Association of Canada commends Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada on the announcement of a new Indigenous framework that ‘will develop – in full partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples – a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework.”  This apparent willingness to initiate change in full partnership with Indigenous people is a positive sign that Canada is committed to enhanced and renewed acknowledgment of Indigenous rights in Canada.

This thorough examination and implementation of a new framework must include the perspective and involvement of Indigenous women; therefore, “we anticipate the federal government will ensure that NWAC is a full partner and participant in engagement related to building and implementing the new Framework”, stated Francyne Joe, President of NWAC. Joe further stated, “Indigenous women are life holders and water carriers and collectively, NWAC represents a multitude of Nations of Indigenous women who are First Nations, Métis, Inuit. These women represent non-status women and girls and rights holders with Treaty rights, inherent rights, Métis rights, human rights and gender-based rights.  As a representative of Indigenous women, NWAC will provide the required gender-based perspective. In order to achieve success in this new Indigenous rights framework, the Government of Canada must include equal gender-based representation.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) requires particular attention to the rights and special needs of Indigenous Elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.  Canada must recognize that Indigenous women have long recognized NWAC as their representative body at the regional, provincial, territorial, national and international levels.

The proposed Framework is a monumental undertaking and unprecedented.  The next steps will be telling and must help ensure success in this potentially historic redirection on the rights of Indigenous people of many Nations, as stated by the Prime Minister, these discussions will be in “full partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people”.  In order for that to be true, it will include the distinct voice of Indigenous women through that of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.