December 6, 2019
UBCIC Recognizes National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
((Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – December 6, 2019) Today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. It has been 30 years since the tragic mass shooting at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal (December 6, 1989) that left 14 young women dead in the wake of a gender-based hate crime.
This important anniversary is a part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. Women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals should never be subjected to violence and discrimination, especially due to their gender. The health and wellbeing of Indigenous women is threatened by violence in policing systems, our judicial systems, in our homes – and in our classrooms.
In 2018, Statistics Canada reported that the number of Indigenous people murdered remained five times higher than the Canadian average. It is time to reflect on how we can safely speak up and act to challenge and change the culture that allows gender-based violence to persist and disproportionately affect Indigenous women and girls. It is not enough to remember these victims of violence, or to acknowledge the discrimination and sexism that persists; we must use our place(s) of privilege to dismantle the oppressive structures that subject people to hatred, violence, and fear.
“One of the ways we can make our women and girls feel safe is to create safe spaces by breaking the silence and having tough conversations with each other,” stated Elaine Alec, the Women’s Representative of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “We can do this by having conversations in our homes, in our schools, and at our places of work. The more space we open, the more opportunities we will create for those experiencing violence to have hope and come forward to find safety”.
“Violence against Indigenous women and girls is systemic and a national crisis”, stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice Action Plan must be immediately implemented, and Indigenous women led. We cannot sit on the sidelines while governments make plans that affect our people. Real change can only happen if we are directly involved as decision-makers.”
“We all must speak up against gender-based violence, whether subtle or overt, as intolerance is making our colleagues, students, family members and friends suffer,” stated Chief Don Tom, Vice President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “This is unignorable and it will take all of us working together to make a difference.”
“The lives of 2SLGBTQQIA people are not disposable,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Everyone has the inherent right to live peacefully, no matter their gender. We must put an end to gender-based violence, we will not stand by idly while our women, men, and children are harmed in unimaginable ways.”
Elaine Alec, Women’s Representative of the UBCIC: 250-462-6349
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary Treasurer of the UBCIC: 250-320-7738
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC: 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice President of the UBCIC: 604-290-6083
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca