THUNDER BAY, ON - March 8, 2011 - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) leadership together with the NAN Women’s Council is celebrating the strengths and contributions made by First Nations women within NAN territory today on the 100th annual International Women’s Day.
“It is vital to our future that we all walk together equally to help restore the balance that has been lost in our communities,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin. “First Nations women are to be respected, honoured and valued because they are the heart and soul of our communities and the backbone of our families.”
Through colonization, lateral violence, residential school and intergenerational trauma, First Nations women have suffered through acts of violence such as the more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. Article 22.2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – recently endorsed by Canada, states that Indigenous women and children are to enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.
“The women within NAN territory are adapting to the change that has come about in the past 100 years and are realizing that there is so much good in life,” said Jackie Fletcher, spokesperson for the NAN Women’s Council. “Women in our communities have taken leadership roles and are now part of the problem solving. NAN Women are growing confidence, and acknowledge equality and respect. They have come to realize the important role they play within our families, communities and in the betterment of our future.”
International Women’s Day was first honoured in 1911 by Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Today, it is recognized around the world and in many countries is now an official holiday.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.