AFN Women’s Council
AFN Annual Report 2012-13
The Women’s Council works with the AFN Secretariats to ensure that the concerns and perspectives of First Nations women inform the work of the AFN. Council members hold portfolio responsibilities and carry out work for the AFN, including participation in a wide range of panels, presentations and forums that are relevant to First Nations women.
Key Issues and Activities
The Chairs have been actively engaged in various meetings and activities that address matters of concern to First Nations women and their families. The Council Chair and Co-Chair participate on the Executive Committee, and as such, have kept the Council apprised of Executive activities and discussions. Also, the Chair has been participating in monthly calls with the Youth and Elders Councils’ Chairs, and the Chief Executive Officer, as a way to establish improved communication between the AFN Secretariat and the Tri-Council.
The Women’s Council participated in a number of activities aimed at raising awareness of and preventing violence against Indigenous women and girls, furthering Resolution 01/2012, including October 4, 2012 which Chiefs had declared a National Day of Remembrance, and October 18, 2012, declared a National Day of Action. The Council Chair attended the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which focused on “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. The Chair had the opportunity to learn about successful initiatives that are taking place around the world. One of the key topics was the important role men play in effectively addressing this issue. This resonates with First Nations as it is imperative that men embrace their traditional role in First Nation families. In addition, the Chair was encouraged by the Commission’s adoption of the following resolution put forward by the International Indigenous Women’s Forum:
“The Commission reaffirms that indigenous women often suffer multiple forms of discrimination and poverty which increase their vulnerability to all forms of violence; and stresses the need to seriously address violence against indigenous women and girls.”
This recognition is a positive step towards increasing international awareness and pressure on Canada, to be accountable and prompted to address this issue.
Some Council members attended the National Forum on Community Safety and Ending Violence, last April in Edmonton. Forum delegates engaged in meaningful dialogue on best practices as well as current needs and challenges faced by community members and victims’ families. In addition, the forum provided a space for participants to put forth recommendations to end violence against and among Indigenous peoples.
In addition to the above mentioned initiatives, the Tri-Council Chairs have been pursuing activities to support implementation of Resolutions 01/2012: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 2012 and 02/2012: Fully Supporting the Role of the AFN Tri-Council.
Next Steps - Moving Forward
- The Council is highly committed to supporting the development and implementation of the National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls.
- The Council will be working on ways to support the development of a collaborative initiative to promote and mentor young First Nation women to prepare them for leadership.
- The Council will also continue to work with the Youth and Elders Councils to continue to implement Resolution 02/2012 as well as the Tri-Council Strategic Plan.