Charlottetown, PEI – On July 31, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard participated in a meeting of Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, alongside National Indigenous Leaders and Representatives. The meeting was also attended by Chief Joanne Miles of Flat Bay Band in Newfoundland, who is a member of the AFN Women’s Council, and Martha Martin, the mother of Chantel Moore of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, who was tragically shot and killed by RCMP in New Brunswick during a wellness check in 2020.
The session focused on important issues affecting the status of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. Interim National Chief Bernard denounced the Manitoba government’s refusal to search the Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of missing First Nations women. “The Federal government-backed study demonstrated that a search of the landfill is possible, and that recovering the remains of loved ones can be done humanely. The world is closely watching this situation unfold, and we are here to request for a commitment at both the federal and provincial levels to reconsider past decisions and take immediate action to search the landfill.”
Interim National Chief Bernard and Chief Miles also urged for funding and support for three national frameworks that Survivors and families have raised as priority areas to address violence against First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. These frameworks, outlined in the AFN report, “Connecting Hearts and Making Change: Building on Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice: An Action Plan to End Violence Against First Nations Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People,” aim to provide support to Survivors and families, prevention services, and promote healing for our Nations. “We need to see real commitment to support these areas,” said Chief Miles. “Reports indicate that only 5 percent of the budget investments allocated for MMIWG2S+ by the federal government in 2021 have been spent. We need transparency and accountability from the government. Survivors and families continue to demand action and increased investments to address the root causes of violence.”
Furthermore, Interim National Chief Bernard cited issues affecting the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, including gender-based violence and suicide. “The AFN fully supports an inclusive approach to this table to address issues that impact First Nations women, girls, and the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. We hope that in future meetings and agendas, there will be a commitment to, at the very least, ensure representation from the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community at the table, and consider creating their own dedicated space and standalone table, for their voices to be heard.”
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Assembly of First Nations