THUNDER BAY – “Violence is a daily reality for far too many Aboriginal women and girls,” says Betty Kennedy, ONWA Executive Director. “Today, and every day, we must remember the hundreds of victims who have died or gone missing because they were Aboriginal women. More importantly, we should use today as a catalyst for concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against Aboriginal women and girls. ONWA supports the Liberal senators in their inquiry and we urge the Federal government to take notice and make the safety of our women and families a national priority.”
The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) recognizes today as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada and reinforces the call for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, December 6th marks the anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal who died because they were women. In addition to commemorating the young women whose lives that day, today represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.
Aboriginal women are particularly more vulnerable to the affects of violence than non-Aboriginal women. Currently, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has identified over 600 known cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, which has spurred the call for a national inquiry into these violence tragedies.
So far, calls for an inquiry have gone unanswered by the Federal government despite the overwhelming support from Aboriginal leaders, communities, and organizations. In response to the inaction, Liberal senators have announced the launch of their own inquiry in the hopes that it will finally convince the Federal government to take action.
NWAC has launched a petition to garner support for an inquiry – which NWAC argues would be a crucial step in implementing a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan to address the scale and severity of violence faced by Aboriginal women and girls. ONWA encourages the support of this petition and the purpose for which it serves. Those interested in signing can do so by visiting the NWAC website: http://www.nwac.ca/nwac-petition-national-inquiry-needed .