Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Aboriginal leaders pan summit on native women

  • Print

The inaugural National Day of Action to address missing and murdered Manitoba women was not without ceremony -- or controversy.

Just before the start of a series of forums and public-awareness initiatives across Winnipeg on Thursday, organized by the newly established Coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, three major aboriginal organizations in Manitoba denounced an upcoming national summit on the issue as "exclusive."

Representatives of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Southern Chiefs Organization said the National Aboriginal Women's Summit III (NAWS), to be held in Winnipeg Nov. 1-2, threatens to be too academically and agency focused to deal with a street-level issue that requires grassroots solutions.

Further, while murdered and missing aboriginal women are a nationwide dilemma, statistics from the Native Women's Association of Canada paint an even starker situation in Manitoba, where 81 per cent of murder cases involve First Nations or other indigenous women and girls versus 61 per cent nationally. Almost half the unsolved murder cases in Manitoba (45 per cent) involve First Nations or other indigenous women compared to 39 per cent nationally.

Sixty-four per cent of those murder cases occurred in Winnipeg, also higher than the urban average of 58 per cent, according to NWAC statistics.

"This issue is happening on the ground, in the streets of Winnipeg," AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said in an interview Thursday. "It's like they're (provincial summit organizers) sitting at the boardroom at 30,000 feet and trying to parachute solutions in. We believe that the solutions exist in the communities, not from closed boardrooms."

Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson could not be reached for comment Thursday, but a spokesman for the province said the NAWS event follows a long-standing format for national meetings that include federal, provincial, territorial and aboriginal representation.

"It was the province's understanding that as the host provincial aboriginal organization, AMC would be part of the AFN (Assembly of First Nations) delegation," the spokesman said. "If the AMC and AFN wish to have separate delegations, the province will ensure AMC still has the opportunity to participate in the summit."

The National Day of Action, along with similar events across Canada on Thursday, included a sunrise ceremony at The Forks, a postcard initiative to demand the federal government launch a national inquiry into missing and murdered women, and several forums ranging from gang violence to the long-term effects of flooding First Nations land. Each of the subjects has ties to the systemic issues at the root of the missing-women scandal, said Kathy Harper, the AMC's community liaison and researcher.

"It's really the start of a movement," Harper said. "I truly believe that."

randy.turner@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2012 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Faron Hall honoured by Mayor Sam Katz - May 6, 2009

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the mandatory helmet law for cyclists under 18?

View Results

Ads by Google