October 4, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today pledged to act to end violence against and among all Indigenous peoples in Canada, and identified two specific dates in October to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“Ending violence against and among Indigenous peoples is a priority every day. Today we stand in honour the too many women who have lost their lives to violence and those whom remain missing,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo during the Sisters in Spirit gathering on Parliament Hill today. “We continue to stand in support of the individuals, families and friends impacted by violence, and we will not do it quietly. We are encouraging Indigenous peoples and all Canadians to join the pledge to live without violence and to act now to achieve safe and secure communities for all of us.”
In July 2012, First Nation leaders declared October 4 a National Day of Remembrance for murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada. National Chief Atleo today called for a commitment by the Government of Canada for National Public Commission of Inquiry on the unresolved cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada. October 18 has been identified as a national day of action to end violence, and AFN is encouraging community-based action across the regions focused on violence prevention and safety and security for all Indigenous peoples.
“Action is required now – to achieve justice and to ensure our peoples are safe, and this includes a commitment by the Government of Canada for a National Public Commission of Inquiry on the unresolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in this country,” said National Chief Atleo. “I have pledged, along with First Nations, other Indigenous leaders, Premiers and territorial leaders, to live violence free and to ensure I do everything in my power to achieve safety and security for all Indigenous peoples. I encourage all communities and Indigenous citizens to tell their stories and seek support, and today I challenge all Canadians to make the pledge, sign a postcard, tell your story.”
In July, thousands of people, including national Indigenous leaders, Premiers and territorial leaders, made a public declaration to live violence free by signing their name to a banner pledging to live without violence. AFN is encouraging all Canadians to make the same pledge which is now available online at www.afn.ca
With support from CUPE National, AFN is also leading a postcard writing campaign urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to commit to a National Public Commission of Inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous women in Canada. Other action could include awareness activities, such as inviting local police for an information sharing session, community marches or feasts.
In February of 2012 AFN hosted a national justice forum that culminated in a national strategy to end violence against Indigenous women and girls adopted by Chiefs-in-Assembly July 2012. In 2013 and in collaboration with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), AFN will convene a second National Forum on Justice and Community Safety with focus on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and broader actions to end violence.
AFN continues to work with NWAC, and consistently advocates in support of First Nation individuals and families impacted by violence that seek justice, and for adequate and appropriate health supports and preventative measures to better ensure communities are safe.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates @AFN_Comms.