3rd National Aboriginal Women’s Summit


Third National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS III) on Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women and Girls Wraps Up With Cooperation on Prevention, Enforcement, and Supports

Winnipeg - Representatives from every province and territory along with the five National Aboriginal Organizations wrapped up meetings today aimed at ending the national tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. The summit was established to further coordinate efforts underway nationally and in several jurisdictions aimed at addressing violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

"The disproportionate number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls is a Canadian tragedy that we all must work together to end,” said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger. “While we recognize progress has been made to bring this issue to the forefront, we know there is still a lot of work ahead of us. I’m pleased that this summit has contributed to the national conversation and helped move us forward in several key areas.”

The two day summit opened with a community gathering and family honouring ceremony. Participants highlighted that the well being of Aboriginal women and girls is everyone's responsibility.

The second day included a roundtable discussion of provincial and territorial representatives and National Aboriginal Leaders. Participants agreed that addressing the issues facing Aboriginal women and communities requires a broad cross-section of society collaborating to create change.

Discussions at NAWS III focused on several priority areas including:

Prevention and Awareness

  • Examples of best practices were shared to demonstrate what can be done to prevent violence against Aboriginal women and girls, including the Highway of Tears Prevention and Awareness project in BC and Ontario’s Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin: I am a kind man initiative.

Investigation and Enforcement

  • Participants discussed the work underway by Justice Ministers on missing and murdered women, including the management of major cases. Participants agreed to continue pushing for better interprovincial and territorial coordination of investigations of offenders who target women and girls in multiple jurisdictions.

Support for Victims and Families

  • Participants shared promising practices from their jurisdictions such as: the Strategic Business Plan on Addressing the Needs of Missing Persons and Their Families, recently released by the Saskatchewan Provincial Partnership Committee on Missing Persons; the ‘What if she was your Daughter’ public awareness campaign in Manitoba; and Alberta's Under Served Victims of Crime - Aboriginal Outreach Victim Services Initiative.

Provinces and Territories agreed to examine changes that would further strengthen protections for Aboriginal women and girls, and encouraged federal engagement.

The outcomes of the summit will be shared with the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group towards development of the national framework of action to support ongoing collaborative work on violence against Aboriginal women and girls by the provinces, territories and Aboriginal organizations. Participants also agreed to invite ministers of justice to participate in this discussion.

Provincial and Territorial representatives heard the call for a national inquiry and committed to raise with their respective governments for discussion at the next meeting of the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group taking place in spring 2013. The government of British Columbia will await the findings of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry before considering a national inquiry.

Nova Scotia committed to host a fourth National Aboriginal Women’s Summit in 2014. The first summit was held in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2007 and resulted in numerous recommendations aimed at improving social and economic conditions of Aboriginal women and their families. The second summit was held in the Northwest Territories in 2008 and built upon the recommendations of the first in areas such as health, safety, wellness, equality and empowerment. Aboriginal peoples are defined as Indian, Métis and Inuit under section 35 of the Constitution of Canada.