Sounding Our Voices – National Aboriginal Women’s Summit
(NAWS) III Shadow Event
Aboriginal Centre, Winnipeg, MB
November 1, 2012
Winnipeg, MB – On November 1st, 2012, at 5:30pm, the opening ceremonies took place at the inaugural Sounding Our Voices National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS) III Shadow Event in the rotunda of the Aboriginal Centre at 181 Higgins Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“Today, we stand again to support Indigenous women, girls and their families. We want to unite our communities, organizations and all delegates to take a unified approach for Indigenous women and girls,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. “I support and encourage everyone to contribute as we move forward to develop concrete actions to address the tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” Grand Chief Nepinak added.
“On behalf of the northern First Nations that I represent in Manitoba, I thank you all for being here,” said Grand Chief David Harper of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, “Your participation is integral for real solutions for this issue. We have lost too many Indigenous women. Mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Friends. We have to look to Indigenous women for the answers and together, take action and end violence against Indigenous women and girls.” “For Canada’s Indigenous population, there is a struggle for survival; cultural, physical, and economic. For Indigenous women, the struggle for physical survival has taken on a greater urgency. The violence to which Indigenous women are subjected has reached epidemic proportions, and it has been argued that it constitutes a continuing violation of human rights. It is through this forum that we are trying to increase public understanding and knowledge at a national level of the impact of the racialized, sexualized violence against Indigenous women in this country that often leading to their disappearance and death” said Grand Chief Murray Clearsky of the Southern Chiefs Organization. “The federal government has balked at the push by First Nations leaders to secure a commitment of a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, and the chance to learn more about the violence that surrounds our Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The information we gather here today can be used to formulate such an inquiry..” said Chief Francine Meeches of the Swan Lake First Nation and chair of the AMC First Nations Women’s Committee.
The three main First Nation organizations, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) are co-hosting and supporting this national event in cooperation with the Manitoba Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
On November 2nd, members of the media are invited to attend the Mother and Daughter Celebration at 1:15 pm and press conference to follow at 1:30 pm at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre, 45 Robinson Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.