Open Letter: National Coalition Declares Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

June 10, 2021

The Honourable Carolyn Bennet, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services

Government of Canada

 

Dear Ministers,

On behalf of national, regional and local gender justice and human rights organizations, we are in solidarity with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples and honour the memory of the 215 children whose remains were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. Our hearts are with residential school survivors, their families and all the children who never returned to the homes from which they were taken.

We condemn the genocide enacted by the Canadian government that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls both found Canada responsible for. As feminist intersectional gender justice organizations, we are firmly against the colonial project that is Canada – established on continued actions that break treaties, steal lands and wreak violence on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people – and the eugenic practices that seek to erase the First Peoples of Turtle Island.

We understand that the truths of this past week are not historical but an ongoing violent reality and a stark reminder that all settlers across Canada must act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls 231 Calls for Justice. We call on the federal government to take immediate and concrete action, beginning with implementation of the TRC calls to action 71 through 76 on the Missing Children and Burial Information. This process must be led by the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities affected, and we follow their direction, but we also must demand that the government address the process of uncovering and investigating the sites of burials with seriousness and respect. They must be treated with appropriate care and spiritual attention as the precious remains of families and communities. It is of national importance that in their entirety, all remains are considered as evidence of trauma and genocide that will be addressed legally.

There are serious gaps in the processes and invisibilization within the National Action Plan for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). It does not recognize disabilities as a part of women’s’ identities and lacks actions to support them. And at different stages, it has failed to include Métis women as well as 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples. Until these omissions are addressed, planned action on implementation will fail women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ made increasingly vulnerable by these gaps.

Reconciliation is not a passive action but rather one that requires active disruption of colonial practices entrenched in policy and legislation, which continue to harm generations of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Reconciliation means pursuing justice for Indigenous communities on all fronts.

This includes the speedy passage of Bill C-15 to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the government of Canada. Canada must also put into action all mechanisms needed to fully implement Bill S-3, register the 270,000 First Nations women and their descendants who are now entitled to status, and eliminate all remaining sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act. The government must immediately stop litigating against all First Nations, Métis and Inuit children.

In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that inequities in Canada’s child welfare services created incentives to remove First Nations children from their homes, families and communities. Dr Marie Wilson, a witness before the CHRT and a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, described the harms experienced by First Nations children because of Canada’s underfunding of child welfare services to be comparable to those experienced by survivors of Residential Schools. Canada must immediately comply with the ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering an end to discrimination against First Nations children in the delivery of child welfare services on reserves and fully implementing The Spirit Bear Plan to end inequalities across all public services. Currently, there are more First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in the child welfare system than there were during the Residential School era.

Canada has been called to act again and again by the First Peoples of Turtle Island, to respect treaties, to move on the recommendations of inquiries, to take concrete steps to change the ongoing racism, misogyny and ableism that is at the heart of the settler colonial project of nation building. We must act. As national, regional and local gender justice and human rights organizations, we are calling for immediate action, not in times of acute need, but in constant reference to the harms being done to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

We will continue to work towards reconciliation by following the leads of Indigenous governments, communities and partners to work in solidarity and honour the memory of lives lost and harmed.

Signed by:

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
Battered Women’s Support Services
Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Canadian Council of Muslim Women
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women / L’Institut canadien de recherches sur les femmes CRIAW-ICREF
Canadian Women’s Foundation / Fondation canadienne des femmes
Child Care Now / Un Enfant Une Place
Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice
Colour of Poverty Colour of Change
Disability Justice Network of Ontario
DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada / Réseau d’action des femmes handicapées du Canada
FAFIA / AFAI
Feminists Deliver
Keepers of the Circle
National Association of Women and the Law / L’Association nationale Femmes et Droit
National Council of Women of Canada
New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity
OCASI-Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Oxfam Canada
Platform
South-Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
The Enchanté Network
West Coast LEAF
WomenattheCentrE
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) / Fonds d’action et d’éducation juridique pour les femmes (FAEJ)
Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network
Women’s Shelters Canada / Hébergement femmes Canada

Cc The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister
The Honorable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality

Support and Resources

National, toll-free 24/7 crisis call lines providing support for anyone who requires emotional assistance related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. You can also access long-term health support services such as mental health counselling, community-based emotional support and cultural services and some travel costs to see Elders and traditional healers.

  • For immediate emotional assistance: 1-866-925-4419
  • Support line for those affected by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA+ people: 1-844-413-6649
  • Indigenous Crisis Responder for youth (24 hours/ 7 days per week); 1-880-668-6868, text 686868
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society https://www.irsss.ca Provides various forms of counselling, health and cultural support, and cultural services to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with intergenerational traumas.
  • The KUU-US Crisis Line Society https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/ The KUU-US Crisis Line Society is a non-profit registered charity that provides 24-hour crisis services through education, prevention and intervention programs.
  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline CRISIS LINE

GTA 416.863.0511
GTA TTY 416.364.8762
TOLL-FREE 1.866.863.0511
TOLL-FREE TTY 1.866.863.7868
#SAFE (#7233) on your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone
Seniors Safety Line 1-866-299-1011

  • FEM’AIDE : 1.877.336.2433 &1.866.860.7082 (ATS)
  • SOS Violence conjugale (in Quebec): 1-800-363-9010

If you would like to show support for survivors of the Residential system, and any Indigenous women and gender-diverse people that are facing gender-based violence, you can donate directly to Indigenous-led organizations that are supporting residential school survivors and their families along with language revitalization, cultural and land-based initiatives.

You can find a grassroots organization in your community to donate to or consider donating to the following:

  • New Friendship Centre for the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society https://kafs.ca/ Provides and promotes culturally based, inclusive programs, supports and activities to enhance holistic well-being and pride in Urban Aboriginal Peoples.
  • The Indian Residential School Survivors Society https://www.irsss.ca/ Provides various forms of counselling, health and cultural support, and cultural services to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with intergenerational trauma.
  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation https://nctr.ca/ & https://umanitoba.ca/community/giving/our-path-reconciliation-and-healing The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of Residential School Survivors, families and communities are honoured and kept safe for future generations.
  • Legacy of Hope Foundation https://legacyofhope.ca/ this is a national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System, including the intergenerational impacts such as the removal of generations of Indigenous children from their families, including the Sixties Scoop, the post-traumatic stress disorders that many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis continue to experience, all while trying to address racism, foster empathy and understanding and inspire action to improve the situation of Indigenous Peoples today.
  • Indspire https://indspire.ca/a-statement-from-indspire/ Indspire is a national Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.

Reproductive justice: Beyond safe abortions

This article uses the terms “pregnant people,” “mothers,” and “women” based on the context. We are aware that there are separate statistics on trans men and non-binary people and we acknowledge that there is information available beyond this article.

Women who experience violence and abuse are less likely to have access to their reproductive rights. They experience more difficulty using contraceptives effectively than women who don’t face abuse due to the power exerted and control exhibited by their abusive partners to further subjugate them. This layer of abuse results to more unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and pregnancy at an earlier age.

Since COVID-19 has taken over many aspects of our lives as we know it, many women are currently living with extended families. Some of the women that Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) serves, report to have no access to birth control as there is increased pressure from her extended family to have a child, making it difficult to break free from reproductive coercion. By the time she gets pregnant, she gets pressured to keep her child. Before COVID-19, she may have had access to BWSS, but COVID-19 limits everyone’s freedom to move around, and access to services.

This pandemic requires isolation: a perfect scenario for abusive men and sometimes, enabling extended families, who use isolation as a tactic. With more families isolated, many abused mothers who are either pregnant and/or have children cannot reach out for support.

When women are pregnant, violence increases.

According to a study in Australia, pregnant women are more vulnerable to physical abuse, which lead them to experience depression and high usage of substances leading to difficulty in gaining much-needed weight for them and their child. Pregnant women who are abused are less likely to have access to pre-natal care, which leads to an early death for their children, who are more likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday.

Men use different tactics including financial abuse, and sexual coercion to control women.  It is common for men who support a woman’s immigration to Canada to impregnate her right away as a form of controlling her.

Reproductive rights are less than 30 years old

In 1994, a group of Black women in Chicago gathered to launch a movement demanding for reproductive justice:

Sharing frustration about the global reproductive health status of Black women and the limitations of a privacy-based ‘pro-choice’ movement when women of color had minimal choices, the Black Women’s Caucus of the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance determined the necessity of adopting a human rights framework for women of color and low income women that addressed issues of bodily autonomy with reproductive decision-making. 

Adopting human rights, social justice and reproductive rights tenets, these women created a transformational and grassroots-based movement for social change. With the definitions and concepts of Reproductive Justice in place, the Black Women’s Caucus sought affirmation and support from the cadre of women of color working domestically on reproductive health and rights.

National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

They define reproductive justice as:

The human right to control our sexuality, our gender, our work, and our reproduction. That right can only be achieved when all women and girls have the complete economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives. 

At the core of Reproductive Justice is the belief that all women have

  1. the right to have children;
  2. the right to not have children and;
  3. the right to nurture the children we have in a safe and healthy environment.
Canada has one of the most progressive abortion laws in the world, although is stiffened with limitations

Abortion procedures are common in Canada, with up to one of three women getting an abortion in their lifetime. Yet, although Canada has robust abortion laws as the only country in the world to not have any specific legal restrictions on abortion, and with abortion partially funded by the Canada Health Act, access to abortion in the country is still problematic.

Many pregnant people are restricted by their financial status, location, immigration status, and doctors who refuse to perform the procedure due to moral and religious grounds. Only one in six hospitals across Canada provide abortion services, with most providers located in major urban centres. For people who live in rural settings, abortion clinics are hard to get to because of lack of available transportation, the clinics are unavailable and are at capacity, which result to many people who end up having a child they were not prepared for. For pregnant people in Nunavut, they face restrictions to universal cost-coverage for medical abortion. As a matter of fact, there are actually no abortion clinics available at any northern regions of any provinces in Canada, and pregnant people have to be flown into a major urban centre should they face complications during their pregnancy.

In addition, for people who could get pregnant and also happen to not communicate in English or French, and/or are immigrants or refugees, they are presented with less to no options that are culturally appropriate and sensitive to their needs.

Pursuing abortion still carries plenty of stigma from families to pro-life activists who are often seen harassing pregnant people even at the time when they arrive at the abortion clinic. Beyond the reasons outlined, there are still plenty of barriers that halt pregnant people from making decisions over their own body.

Beyond abortion rights

Although access to abortion has been available for many white, able-bodied women who have financial resources and live in major urban centres, reproductive justice urges for a broader vision that includes Black, Indigenous, women of colour, and trans and non-binary people in health care and social policies. After all, it is Black women in the US who fought for abortion rights, access to contraceptives, sexual health education, rights to have children, rights to have birthing options, rights for parents to keep the children they have, and the right to raise their children in thriving communities.

Canadians shriek in horror over the US Trumpian imagery of children of migrants crying inside cages as they are willfully separated from their parents at detention centres. Many are children of parents fleeing violence from South American countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, as well as children of migrants from the Caribbean who experience the effects of colonization and imperialism (which are US-sanctioned and supported). In September 2020, an African-American nurse, Dawn Wooten, made a whistleblower complaint reporting a doctor who performed hysterectomies (surgical removal of surgeries) on detained women without their knowledge of consent.

However, Canada has been guilty of separating families for far longer that what is officially recorded. The currently existing Indian Act had officially formalized the removal of 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children in hopes “to kill the Indian in the child” in residential schools that operated from 1876 until 1996. Two thousand eight hundred children died in residential schools as per the report of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.  Furthermore, starting in the mid-1950s, dubbed as “The Sixties Scoop,” 20,000 kids were removed from their homes, mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and adopted by non-Indigenous families in Canada and the US. This practice placing Indigenous children in the child welfare system continues to this day, where Indigenous children represent more than half of children in foster care in private Canadian homes but account for only less than ten per cent of the overall child population.

The right of parents to keep their children further target Black, Indigenous, and racialized, immigrant parents. Up until as recently as July 2020, the government of Ontario ended “birth alerts,” a practice that notifies hospitals of newborns who are deemed to need protection from their mothers: a high percentage of whom happen to be Indigenous and Black women. To date, only BC, Manitoba, and Ontario have ended this systematic separation of families, a recommendation made from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Ontario Native Women’s Association has told the government that 450 Indigenous families a year will benefit from the ending of birth alerts based on the programs they administer and sites they have in place instead.

In addition, a class action law suit is underway as one hundred Indigenous women have come forward with their unique stories of forced and coerced sterilization further exposing the systemic racism at play in Canada’s health care system. Many women have had their fallopian tubes tied without their proper and informed consent. This practice of eugenics –determining who should or should not have children—was mentioned multiple times in the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls which states, “…the forced sterilization of women represents directed state violence against Indigenous women, and contributes to the dehumanization and objectification of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

Eco-fascist ideals continue for calls against people’s autonomy to have children. In September 2020 in Vancouver, an advertising campaign by One Planet, One Child has featured a Black baby with the ad copy, “The most loving gift you can give your first child is to not have another.” This campaign raised outrage from anti-racist climate justice activists, who highlighted that the myth of overpopulation targets families from poor, and racialized communities globally when “research has shown that an unequal distribution of resources is actually more to blame for the climate crisis than increasing numbers of people.”

In addition, transgender and non-binary people need reproductive justice, too. American journalist and trans woman Parker Molloy says: “Abortion is an issue of bodily autonomy. Being trans is an issue of bodily autonomy. Abortion is a trans issue.” Many non-binary people and trans men need reproductive justice as well, as they are often left out of conversations. Inequities that trans and non-binary people face especially in health care make it another barrier for them to access safe and great quality care, due to medical transphobia, income inequity, effects of organized religion, erasure, feeling judged and shunned by loved ones and many more.

Organizations such as Options for Sexual Health have put together a manual for Trans-inclusive Abortion Services to help service providers provide trans-inclusive services in abortion settings.

What good are rights when only a few could access them? Although reproductive rights have been granted in various ways, reproductive oppression limits many people from having autonomy and self-determination when it comes to their own health and wellbeing. Reproductive justice addresses the power imbalance within colonial and patriarchal institutions, social structures, economies, and the intersections that people face including their access to reproductive and sexual healthcare and information, their race, class, sexuality, geographical location and vulnerability to experiencing violence.

BWSS liberates victims from violence

For the past decades, BWSS has been responding to calls for reproductive justice through public education and by supporting women, non-binary people, femmes and girls through different programs suitable for their unique situation. Our wrap-around services understand the intersections women, non-binary people, femmes and girls live within when faced with unjust legal systems; precarious immigration status; unsecure and unstable financial supports; no access to maternal health care; ableist laws; a society that thrives in white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy; and settler-colonial state violence.

BWSS services include:

  • Black, Indigenous, and Latin American Women’s programs
  • Thrive, a program that supports people involved in sex economies
  • AWARE, a program that leads women to financial empowerment
  • 2SLGBTQIA+ support
  • Counselling
  • Legal advocacy
  • And more

If you are experiencing abuse –whether it is mental, physical, sexual—, please know that you have options. When it is safe to do so:

  • Contact our free crisis line that is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week:
  • Contact Options for Sexual Health:
    • Call 604-731-4252
    • Call Sex Sense for questions about sex, sexuality, and other sexual health-related questions at 1-800-739-7367) or send them a message. Sex Sense is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Financial Literacy Program for Black Immigrant Women

Occasionally, we proudly amplify the work of grassroots organizations who contribute to improving the lives of women, femmes, non-binary people, and children. In this case, we are excited to support the work of Vancouver Eastside Educational Enrichment Society (VEEES) led by Adaeze Jannette Oputa and Doriane Kaze who are looking for focus group participants that will lead Black immigrant, refugee, and migrant women to financial independence through their Financial Literacy Program for Black Immigrant Women.

This program is the first of its kind in Metro Vancouver, that will offer a range of courses designed specifically to educate and empower Black immigrant, refugee, and migrant women, helping them and their families reap the benefits of being financially confident and savvy.

VEEES will offer an independent and unbiased financial curriculum in an enjoyable and engaging environment. The courses are taught by Black women who have created and simplified the complex financial verbiage into everyday language to help women make better-informed financial decisions.

This program intends to highlight the concepts and significance of financial literacy and how it can contribute to improving socio economic wellbeing, financial sector development, poverty reduction and sustainable growth in black immigrant communities within and beyond BC.

They will be conducting a focus group to understand Black women’s

  • level of financial knowledge that already exists in the community;
  • needs as a Black immigrant, refugee, and/or migrant woman, so that VEEES can build strong wrap around services to support them

The focus group will be held online, on Thursday, September 17 from 11 am to 1 pm PST.  A $20 gift card will be provided for sharing your valuable time with VEEES.

If you:

  • Are a Black newcomer woman (immigrant, refugee or migrant) between 20 and 55 years of age
  • Live in Metro Vancouver
  • Have access to the internet

Please register to join the focus group by filling out the form on their website.

Financial literacy and independence is also important for survivors of gender-based violence, and this program is specific to support the needs of Black immigrant, refugee, and migrant women.

For survivors who look for additional supports, our employment program called AWARE is available to provide one-on-one help in navigating and accessing government, community, and peer supports as well as offering workshops on relevant topics that will set you up for success. If you or anyone you know is seeking employment services or supports, contact us by email [email protected] or phone 778-628-1867.

Supreme Court of Canada’s anti-SLAPP judgments endanger survivors of gender-based violence

On September 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released judgments in two cases concerning the interpretation of Ontario’s anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) laws on which BC’s Protection of Public Participation Act is modeled. In response to the decisions, the anti-violence sector urges the Supreme Court to centre the voices of survivors of gender-based violence who can be faced with SLAPP suits when they speak out.

These cases – 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v Pointes Protection Assn and Bent v Platnick – are the first opportunities that the Supreme Court has taken to interpret anti-SLAPP laws. Though the cases were not about expression concerning sexual assault or gender-based violence, these judgments (linked below) were anxiously awaited by members of the anti-violence sector who anticipated the impacts that the rulings would have on survivors of marginalized genders. 

In November of 2019, West Coast LEAF, Atira Women’s Resource Society, Battered Women’s Support Services, and WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre intervened in these cases in Ottawa, as a coalition of anti-violence organizations that work to combat gender-based violence and advance gender equity.

The coalition focused its arguments on the impact that strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) have on survivors of gender-based violence. SLAPP suits filed by those accused of gender-based violence are of grave concern, as they intimidate and silence individual survivors, further chilling the reporting and disclosure of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is already a grossly under-reported crime, and the coalition shares concerns that these rulings may result in additional trauma for survivors.

The Supreme Court does not specifically address the impact that SLAPP suits have on survivors of gender-based violence in these decisions. The Court does recognize that, in considering what weight to give expression, judges may need to consider whether the expression at issue, or the underlying legal claim, may provoke hostility against identifiably vulnerable groups or groups protected by equality and human rights laws.

“We are concerned that today’s judgments will result in additional barriers that survivors of gender-based violence and sexual assault will face when seeking justice, or sharing their experiences of sexualized violence,” says Dalya Israel, Executive Director, WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre. “The potential for SLAPP lawsuits to cause survivors further traumatization will disproportionately affect those who are Indigenous, racialized, trans and gender diverse. These decisions are another example of how the criminal justice system continues to fail at providing protections for marginalized survivors and perpetuates the systemic oppression already faced by these communities.”

Amber Prince, Staff Lawyer with Atira Women’s Resource Society, says: “We appreciate that the SCC has defined the public interest broadly. It is critical that vulnerable groups, such as sexual assault survivors, be able to speak up about what happened to them, in order seek support, safety and redress without fear of being sued. It is also critical that sexual assault survivors have meaningful access to legal support and the Courts to protect themselves from SLAPP suits. The legal system must be responsive to the particular needs of sexual assault survivors, and the chilling trend of SLAPP suits being brought against sexual assault survivors across Canada.”

“These judgments have potentially serious implications for survivors of gender-based violence,” says Raji Mangat, Executive Director of West Coast LEAF. “Defamation claims against survivors of gender-based violence are of increasing concern. They have become more common in the backlash to the #MeToo movement and are often brought in cases where deep power imbalances exist. Without having their disclosure and reporting protected as a matter of public interest, survivors of gender-based violence face an unacceptable choice. They risk being sued in defamation and dragged through a lengthy civil court proceeding if they disclose or report their violence for any reason, including seeking support or ensuring safety for others. Or they lose their right to this expression.”

“We are working with women right now who are being sued for defamation for exposing their abusers,” says Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS). “Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada appears to have affirmed the power of those who perpetrate sexualized violence. However, we are undeterred. We will continue to take action on the front line, where the law meets the lived experiences of sexual assault survivors.”

Read the judgment in 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v Pointes Protection Assn by clicking here.

Read the judgment in Bent v Platnick by clicking here.

For information on BC’s Protection of Public Participation Act, click here.

Get a limited edition Dorothy Grant face mask and support BWSS programs and services

With more public spaces requiring face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are ecstatic to present this partnership with the one and only, Dorothy Grant.

Dorothy Grant is a legendary Haida artist, and she has created limited edition face masks with 10% of proceeds supporting survivors and victims of gender-based violence through Battered Women’s Support Services.

These masks are made of breathable 70% cotton and 30% silk, and have double layers with an open insert pocket for a filter, should you choose to use one. Say goodbye to single-use masks, and re-use these washable, long-lasting masks.

Not only are you supporting a local Indigenous artist, you are also helping women, femmes, non-binary people, and children access safety through BWSS programs and services.

Wear a piece of art while making a statement about your care for others through one or all four fabulous designs.

😷 Keep one at home
😷 Keep one at your work place
😷 Keep one in your bag
😷 Give one to a friend!

About Dorothy Grant


Dorothy Grant’s connection to her culture and Haida identity has been the driving creative force and her foundation as a contemporary fashion designer for over the past thirty-two years.

In 1988, Grant became the first to merge Haida art and fashion utilizing her formal training at the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. Dorothy believes that her clothing embodies the Haida philosophy Yaangudang meaning “self respect.” The driving force behind her clothing designs is “empowerment, pride and feeling good about oneself.”

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) commemorates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, today, August 9, 2018.

The theme set by the UN this year is, Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement “as a result of loss of their lands, territories and resources due to development and other pressures, many Indigenous peoples migrate to urban areas in search of better prospects of life, education and employment. They also migrate between countries to escape conflict, persecution and climate change impacts”.

After a decade opposing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Canada finally announced that it now supports UNDRIP.  It is not enough for Canada to say they support UNDRIP, there is a big gap between Canada’s constitutional requirements for the treatment of Indigenous people and the requirements of International law. When it comes to International law, it has to be implemented through Canadian laws which mean we have to legislate it into existence for it to be part of Canadian law.

Today, we urge the Canadian government to pass Bill C-262, an Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Should it become law, Bill C-262 would require a process for the review of federal laws, to ensure consistency with the standards set out in UNDRIP. It would also require the government to work with Indigenous peoples to develop a national action plan to implement the declaration. Also part of the requirements would be provisions for an annual reporting to parliament on the progress made toward implementation.

At BWSS, we know that Indigenous women, trans, and two spirit people are particularly vulnerable to violence because of historical and ongoing systemic sexism, racism, and trans/misogyny. Article 22 in Bill C-262 states that particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of Indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration and that States shall take measures, in conjunction with Indigenous peoples.

The passing of this Bill will help ensure that Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2*S peoples can live safely in our communities.
 

BWSS is asking for your support of Bill C-262 by writing to your MP today.