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Panel of International Experts to Explore Strategies to End Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls at CSW60

Quilt Walk for Justice at the U.S. Supreme Court (2015).  Photo Credit NIWRC(March 16, 2016) (New York, NY) — Speakers from American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Canadian national indigenous organizations are set to converge for a critical panel discussion on violence against indigenous women and girls. The parallel event, titled Indigenous Women’s Movements to End Violence Against American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous Women, will take place at the sixtieth session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, on March 22, 2016 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. EST at the UN Church Center Chapel in New York City.

“Indigenous women and girls worldwide are subjected to multiple forms of discrimination, violence, and even murder, at rates much higher than other groups of women,” said Lucy R. Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. “Our panelists have first-hand knowledge on how to organize and advocate for the social change and legal reforms that are needed to restore safety in our Native nations and communities.”

Panelists will also share strategies to advance the rights of indigenous peoples and women affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right of indigenous women to enjoy full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada, at October 4th Sisters in Spirit Vigil with her daughter on right.  Photo Credit NWAC

“Significantly, during the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, member countries committed to support empowerment of indigenous women and to prevent and eliminate violence and discrimination against indigenous women,” said Jana L. Walker, senior attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center and director of its Safe Women, Strong Nations project.

Terri Henry, Co-Chair National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women and Chair of the Indian Law Resource Center Board of Directors, will speak about historic efforts to build the national movement for safety and sovereignty in the United States; Tamra Truett Jerue, Director of the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center and Tribal Administrator and Director of Social Services for the Anvik Village Tribal Council, will focus on safety for Alaska Native women; and Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Ph.D., President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, will speak about the movement for justice and accountability for missing and murdered indigenous women.

To attend the parallel event, you must register with the CSW NGO-Forum. Registration is free at ngocsw.org/ngo-csw-forum. For more information, email Jana L. Walker, at jwalker@indianlaw.org.

The event is cosponsored by the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, the Indian Law Resource Center, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc., and the Native Women’s Association of Canada.  

Cosponsoring Organizations

About the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center
Organized in 2015, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKNWRC) is a tribal nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against women with Alaska’s 229 tribes and allied organizations. AKNWRC board members are Alaska Native women raised in Alaska Native Villages and have 141 years of combined experience in tribal governments, nonprofit management, domestic violence, and sexual assault advocacy (both individual crisis and systems and grassroots social change advocacy at the local, statewide, regional, national and international levels) and other social service experience. AKNWRC’s philosophy is that violence against women is rooted in the colonization of indigenous nations.

About the Indian Law Resource Center
Founded in 1978, the Indian Law Resource Center (ILRC) is a non-profit organization established and directed by American Indians and dedicated to protecting the rights of Indian and Alaska Native nations and other indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. The Center’s Safe Women, Strong Nations project works to end the epidemic levels of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and children and to strengthen Indian nations. (indianlaw.org)

About the National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments. As the collective voice of tribal governments in the United States, NCAI is dedicated to ending the epidemic of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women. In 2003, NCAI created the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women to address and coordinate an organized response to national policy issues regarding violence against Indian women. The NCAI Task Force represents a national alliance of Indian nations and tribal organizations dedicated to the mission of enhancing the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women. (ncai.org)

About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
The National Indigenous Women's Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and training, policy development and system management, materials, and resource information on violence against Native women and the development of tribal strategies and responses to end the violence. (niwrc.org)

About the Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. NWAC is an aggregate of thirteen Native women's organizations from across Canada and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1974. Much like a "Grandmother's Lodge," we as aunties, mothers, sisters, brothers and relatives collectively recognize, respect, promote, defend and enhance our Native ancestral laws, spiritual beliefs, language and traditions given to us by the Creator. (nwac.ca)

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jacqueline Agtuca
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
Jagtuca@NIWRC.org
+1 406-477-3896
NIWRC.org

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-485-1988
jjefferys@nwac.ca
nwac.ca

Ginny Underwood
Indian Law Resource Center
gunderwood@indianlaw.org
+1 406-449-2006
indianlaw.org

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