Seeking Justice for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

2010-isw-mmiw-justiceSEEKING JUSTICE panel discussion: A National Call for an Public Inquiry for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Featuring speakers: Sharon McIvor, Maria Jacko, and Yasmin Jiwani

Held Friday Oct 29, 2010
Lamoureux Hall room 122, University of Ottawa

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Are Canadians complacent and complicit on the issue of the Indigenous Murdered and Missing women? Does Media play a role in perpetuating stereotypes about Indigenous women? Do media cultivate indifference because of the lack of critical and investigative reporting? What are the International Human Rights violations of Indigenous women? What are the challenges families, mother’s face when police do not take the investigations seriously? Are Indigenous women merely a political scapegoat by politicians because they do not believe a National public enquiry is necessary? Seeking Justice; A National Call for a Public Inquiry on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women will be a lively discussion that will provoke you to action to support Indigenous women in their plight for a National Call for a Public Inquiry in Canada .

 

SHARON MCIVOR:
Sharon has devoted her life to improving the conditions of Aboriginal women, and all women in Canada. Sharon is a member of the Lower Nicola Band in British Columbia , a practicing lawyer, and a Professor of Aboriginal Law at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. She has spent over two decades fighting to end sex discrimination under the status provisions of the Indian Act. At the same time she has been tireless in her work to end violence against Aboriginal women.

 

MARIA JACKO:
Maria Jacko’s niece Maisy Odjick, along with Maisy’s friend Shannon Alexander went missing together on Sept 6 2008 from Kitigan Zibi, unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory, 135km north of Ottawa in Quebec. They were 16 and 17 years of age, respectively, at the time, and have not been since since. For more info, please see www.findmaisyandshannon.com

 

YASMIN JIWANI:
Yasmin Jiwani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University , Montreal . Her publications include: Discourses of Denial: Mediations of Race, Gender and Violence, as well as a co-edited collection titled: Girlhood, Redefining the Limits. Yasmin is also a co-founder of RACE, Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equity, a Canadian based organization. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. Her research interests include mediations of race, gender and violence in the context of war stories, femicide reporting in the press and representations of women of colour in popular television. In 2006, she co-wrote an article tracing Aboriginal women’s representations in The Vancouver Sun. That article is available and can be accessed at: at www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/download/1825/1932 … Email: yasmin.jiwani@gmail.com … Webpage: http://coms.concordia.ca/faculty/jiwani.html

 

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This event was part of Indigenous Sovereignty Week 2010 in Ottawa, Oct27-Nov4 – for full details please see www.bit.ly/iswottawa

Organized by: Defenders of the Land; Indigenous Environmental Network; Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO); Bolivia Action Solidarity Network; MiningWatch; Project of Heart; Public Service Alliance of Canada

Sponsors: Canadian Union of Public Employees; Public Service Alliance of Canada; Canadian Union of Postal Workers; OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa; PSAC NCR Aboriginal Action Circle; PSAC National Women’s Department; CUPE Local 4600 (at Carleton University); Carleton University Graduate Students Association; PROMdemonium Fund; Canada Council for the Arts

Celebrate the Arrival of MARCHE AMUN / AMUN MARCH

Update: check the link here - http://picasaweb.google.com/peiju.wang/MarcheAMUNByNikGehl# to see photos from the feast and rally by Nik Gehl

On June 1, 2010, after nearly one month of walking, the AMUN March will arrive on Parliament Hill to draw attention to ongoing legislative sexism in the Indian Act, and to call people of conscience to join the struggle against it.

AMUN March kicked off its 500 km march from Wendake, QC to the Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 4, 2010 to pursue the fight that was undertaken by Sharon McIvor (see Sharon McIvor’s fight for gender equality in the Indian Act), and to request that the Canadian Government resolve the injustices created by the Indian Act.  The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-3 to bolster gender equity in the registration provisions of the Act.  However, this Bill is just another continued failed remedial legislation, it partially corrects discriminatory aspects of the Indian Act registration rules (See Sexist Bill C-3 is racist and fatally flawed).

Furthermore, the government of Canada failed to consult with Indigenous Peoples and accommodate their concerns prior to introducing Bill C-3, which violates Section 35 of Canadian Constitution Act of 1982.  Not only Bill C-3 does not end discrimination against Indigenous women and their descendants, it also does not address the underlying issue of the Indian Act – categorization of Indian status.  If Canada is SINCERE in its promise of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples following the Apology of June 11 2008 and in the recent Throne speech, Canada must recognize and respect the INHERENT RIGHT of Indigenous peoples to govern themselves, to define who can be a citizen of their nation.

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa is one of many groups, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and Québec Native Women Inc., calling allies to come out and greet the march as it arrives on Parliament Hill.

Community Feast to Welcome AMUN March

L to R: Vivane Michele, Danielle Guay, Sharon McIvor, and Michèle Audette with her son Yocoisse Sioui. Photographer Gwen Brodsky

6 PM Monday, May 31, 2010
Odawa Friendship Centre, 12 Stirling Ave.  Ottawa, Algonquin Territory
Everyone is Welcome to the fest!

Opening ceremony by Elder Annie St. Georges

Speakers:
Michèle Audette and Viviane Michel, Marche Amun Organizers,
Sharon McIvor,
Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, and
Lynn Gehl, Giizhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe, Makinag Ndoo-dem

Rally & Press Conference

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

11:45 AM   Victoria Island
(end of Middle Street, off Chaudière Bridge, follow signs for “Aboriginal Experiences”)
EVERYONE IS WELCOME

12 PM    Welcome
Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada
Michèle Audette and Viviane Michel, Marche Amun Organizers
Sharon McIvor, McIvor v. Canada
Dawn Harvard, President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association
Kathleen McHugh, Women’s Council Chair of the Assembly of First Nations

12:45    Closing

1-1:30 PM    Press Conference (Charles Lynch Room, 130S, Centre Block) ALL MEDIA WELCOME

Further Information

What to do:

Write to you MP and the key politicians below about your opposition to Bill C-3:

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Chuck Strahl;
Opposition party leaders: Duceppe, Ignatieff and Layton;
Members of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs: Bruce Stanton, Rick Clarke, LaVar Payne, John Duncan, Earl Dreeshen, Greg RickfordAnita Neville, Todd Russell, Larry Bagnell (Liberals); Jean Crowder, Carol Hughes (NDP); Marc LeMay and Yvon Levesque (BQ).

BACKGROUND

The Federal Government had until April 6th, 2010 to amend the Indian Act, but requested the Court of Appeal of British Columbia an extension till July 5th, 2010. It must act. The Indian Act discriminates and marginalizes the Native Peoples since 1876. Ms Sharon McIvor, a Native woman from British Columbia, questioned in Court one of the discriminatory outcomes of this Act, that is the impossibility for a Mother to hand down the Native status to her grand-children when the father of the children is not Native, when this right is recognized for Native fathers in the same situation. It is thanks to 25 years of legal procedures that things will change.

However, the women will go on being subjected to discrimination in such domains as:

  • The Right to Indian status for themselves and their children (abolish categories)
  • The Right of Membership to the Band for themselves and their children;
  • Registration of children whose paternity is questioned or not recognized;
  • The Right to live in the reserve for themselves, their spouse and their children;
  • The clause on distribution of lands and services on the reserve;
  • Property division following a breach/break-up in the relationship;
  • The Right of Ottawa to determine who is Native

Through history, discrimination founded on sex towards women of First Nations becomes official as soon as 1868, legislative measures then enacting that the Indian status could be handed down only by men. A man who married a non-Native kept his Indian status conferred by the Indian Act, his wife and their children became Indians according to the Law. A woman from a First Nation who married a non-Native or a non-registered Indian lost her aboriginal and treaty rights, as did her children. In the Indian Act jargon, she lost her status.

It is to continue the struggle undertaken by Ms McIvor and request the Canadian Government to settle these injustices of the Indian Act that the AMUN March is held.

Francais

Le gouvernement fédéral avait jusqu’au 6 avril 2010 pour modifier la Loi sur les Indiens, mais a demandé une extension jusqu’au 5 juillet 2010 à la Cour d’appel de Colombie- Britannique. Il doit agir. La Loi sur les Indiens discrimine et marginalise les peuples autochtones depuis 1876. C’est ce qu’a décidé la Cour dans la cause de Mme Sharon McIvor, femme autochtone de la Colombie-Britannique qui a contesté l’un des effets discriminatoires de cette loi, soit l’impossibilité pour une mère de transmettre le statut autochtone à ses petits-enfants lorsque le père des enfants n’est pas autochtone, alors que ce droit est reconnu pour les pères autochtones dans la même situation. C’est grâce à plus de 25 ans de démarches légales que les choses vont changer.

Toutefois, les femmes continuent de subir la discrimination de la Loi sur les Indiens dans les domaines tels que:

  • Le droit au statut indien pour elles-mêmes et leurs enfants (abolition des catégories);
  • Le droit à l’appartenance à la bande pour elles-mêmes et leurs enfants;
  • L’inscription d’enfants dont la paternité est contestée ou non reconnue;
  • Le droit à résider dans la réserve pour elles-mêmes, leur conjoint et leurs enfants;
  • La clause de distribution de terrains et de services dans la réserve;
  • Le partage des biens suite à la rupture de la relation,
  • Le refus d’ajouter des nouveaux argents pour les nouvelles inscriptions,
  • Le droit exclusif d’Ottawa de déterminer qui est indien.

Dans l’histoire, la discrimination fondée sur le sexe à l’égard des femmes des Premières Nations devient officielle dès 1868, des mesures législatives décrétant alors que le statut d’Indien ne pouvait être transmis que par les hommes. Un homme qui mariait une nonautochtone conservait son statut d’indien conféré par la Loi sur les Indiens, sa femme et leurs enfants devenaient indiens au sens de la Loi. Une femme des PN qui mariait un non-autochtone ou un Indien non-inscrit perdait ses droits ancestraux et issus de traités, tout comme ses enfants! Dans le jargon de la Loi sur les Indiens, elle perdait son statut.

C’est pour continuer la lutte entreprise par Mme McIvor et demander au gouvernement canadien de régler ces injustices dans la Loi sur les Indiens que la Marche Amun aura lieu.

April 25: Decolonial Study Group on The Indian Act

Sunday, April 25 at 2pm
Exile Infoshop
256 Bank St. (2nd Floor)
Everyone Welcome!
Contact us if you have mobility issues and want to attend
ipsmo@riseup.net
http://www.ipsmo.org

The Decolonial Study Group is a project of the IPSM Ottawa. We will be deepening and broadening our understanding and analysis of indigenous struggles for decolonization, social justice and revolution. We will be doing this through readings, workshops, oral presentations, movies and so on.

The reading for the study group on Sunday, April 25 will focus on the Indian Act. The Indian Act is the fundamental piece of legislation through which the Canadian state seeks to control Indigenous People in Canada.

For this study group there will be core articles which we ask everyone to read, as well as additional articles and information for people who have the time and the interest to get deeper into the subject matter.

Core Readings:

Gender, Race, and the Regulation of Native Identity in Canada and the United States: An Overview by Bonita Lawrence

The essay is pretty long, so feel free to stop at “American Discourses of Indianess.” Of course, you`re encouraged to read the whole essay.

Part 1 – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=411632066387&id=1256244881

Part 2 – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=411636956387&id=1256244881

Additional Readings:

“An Indian Act: A Response to Genocide”
http://www.dominionpaper.ca/opinion/2006/10/21/an_indian_.html

“HOW SHARON MCIVOR IS TAKING ON THE INDIAN ACT”
http://www.fafia-afai.org/en/news/2008/how-sharon-mcivor-taking-indian-act

And everyone is welcome whether they’ve done the readings or not!