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Visit ONWA's Media Centre regularly to keep up to date with the latest news regarding Indigenous women and their families, and what ONWA has been doing.



December 14, 2018

MMIWG Inquiry will fail women and families if it does not address Human Trafficking

Thunder Bay, Dec-14-18 – The MMIWG Inquiry is hearing closing submissions in Ottawa today before moving on to drafting the Inquiry’s final recommendations. The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is voicing deep concern that you can’t talk about MMIWG without addressing the crisis of Human Trafficking.

We know that Indigenous women and girls are over-represented in Human Trafficking and they continue to be societies most vulnerable and targeted group due to systemic racism and gender discrimination.

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December 13,2018

ONWA Compels MMIWG NI Commissioners to be brave

OTTAWA, Dec-13-2018 - Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) Executive Director, Cora Lee McGuire-Cyrette inspired the heart and honoured the families of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry (MMIWG-NI) in Ottawa today.

ONWA does not speak on behalf of Indigenous women, we speak to Indigenous women’s issues. The organization has always spoken from the perspective of what can we do to help in the daily lives of Indigenous women; “We talk with Indigenous women. We listen to them. And then we take action.”

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December 12, 2018

ONWA views OIPRD Review of TBPS as an opportunity to build trust

The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is committed to working with Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) to ensure the recommendations of the Broken Trust report, released today, are fully implemented. The report acknowledges something we already know - Indigenous women and girls confront racism every day and that racism ends in violence and injustice.

The independent review examined 37 sudden death investigations conducted by the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS).  Gerry McNeilly, Independent Review Director, recommends that nine of those cases be re-investigated.  Four of the nine cases put forward to be re-opened, involve the deaths of Indigenous women.

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December 6, 2018

All Women are Sacred

Today, December 6th known as White Ribbon Day, we remember the women who have lost their lives to violence and we pay tribute to those women. Twenty nine years after the 1989 Polytechnique massacre in Montreal we continue to live in fear of violence every day. This is our reality. But it does not define who we are. We are strong, we are sacred, we are medicine.

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November 27, 2018

Indigenous Women Fight Everyday to End Violence

Indigenous women in Ontario are on the front line of a daily battle against violence in their lives that so many Canadians don’t see and don’t understand.

As the executive director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) I’ve witnessed our organization grow into a force that provides a respectful safe place for Indigenous women as safety is paramount to healing and addressing violence.

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November 20, 2018

ONWA at Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference in Sydney, Australia

The Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA) from Ontario, Canada will be attending the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide ( conference in Sydney, Australia November 26-29, 2018.

ONWA is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1971 to empower and support Indigenous women and their families through cultural restoration. As an agency, ONWA supports and empowers youth to have a voice.

“The Eighth Gathering of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide will bring together Indigenous peoples from around the world to celebrate the power of Indigenous knowledge and wisdom and to share stories with pride and purpose”.

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November 13, 2018

Invitation to Poetry Night

ONWA is hosting a Poetry Night on Friday, November 23, 2018 at 380 Ray Blvd from 6:00-9:00 PM to raise awareness of Violence Against Women in support of the United Nations International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women #orangetheworld campaign.

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November 6, 2018

Building Our Bundles Art Installation Launches November 8, 3:30 - 5:30PM at Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Community Room

Thunder Bay, ON - Come see the Building Our Bundles Art Installation, A project of the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) presenting stories of women in the Robinson Superior region in various mediums including books, painting, video, and audio. Feature artists include Candace Twance, Vanessa Willow, & Tony McGuire.

Date(s): Tuesday November 8 – Sunday December 2, 2018

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October 23, 2018

Ground Breaking Technology & Tradition Connect to Help More Indigenous Women

Today, Talk4Healing, a crucial helpline for Indigenous women, launched new text and chat technology that will increase the ability to provide support and services across Ontario.

“Technology is having epochal changes on how people communicate and is a human story that is evolving every day. Talking on the telephone to connect with others is fast becoming a trend of the past,” explains Debra Vermette, Executive Director of Beendigen. “Women now have a choice in how they connect with the helpline. A live, trained counsellor can talk with callers over the phone, text through mobile device, or chat via the Talk4Healing website’s Live Chat, providing culturally sensitive crisis counselling, advice and support.”

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September 7, 2018

Indigenous Activist Jeanette Corbiere-Lavell honoured with Order of Canada

The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is extremely honoured to acknowledge Jeanette Corbiere-Lavell for receiving the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Jeanette Corbiere-Lavell has been appointed with this honour for her leadership in advocating for Indigenous women’s rights throughout Canada, notably for advancing gender equality under the law. Cora-lee McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of ONWA says “her contribution to the well-being and equal rights to Indigenous women demonstrates strong leadership, determination, strength, and resiliency that continue to positively affect the Indigenous women’s movement.”

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August 21, 2018

CBC Listen | Afternoon Drive with Chris dela Torre

Indigenous women's advocate expresses 'absolute outrage' at judge's decision to strike down minimum sentence for Steevenson Joseph

An Ottawa judge struck down two mandatory minimum sentences - three years in prison - in the case of Steevenson Joseph, convicted of three prostitution related offences, along with making and possessing child pornography. Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette is the executive director of the Ontario Native Women's Association, which works with victims of sexual assault and human trafficking.

Listen Here

August 17, 2018

Children’s safety not negotiable when it comes to human trafficking

The Ontario Native Women’s Association is appalled by Justice Colin McKinnon’s decision to not impose a mandatory minimum sentence that involved sexual violence against children. 

On Thursday, the Ottawa judge is quoted as saying that to impose the mandatory minimum on the offender, Steevenson Joseph, would be “cruel and unusual punishment.” Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of ONWA said, “Justice McKinnon describes this offender as “naïve” but what about the naivety of the young girls he took advantage of – children who he violated and profited from! What type of message is this sending to others involved in the ugly world of human trafficking and child pornography? Children’s safety is not negotiable when it comes to human trafficking.”

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June 6, 2018

Candidate Profiles

There has never been an Indigenous women elected to the Ontario legislature. There are three Indigenous women running in the upcoming election: Suze Morrison (NDP – Toronto Centre), Ethel LaValley (NDP – Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke) and Karen Kejik (Liberal – Kenora-Rainy River). Each of these candidates has their own reasons for running in the upcoming election. Here are their thoughts on what it means as an Indigenous woman to take on a leadership role.

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June 5, 2018

ONWA Welcomes Announcement of Limited Extension to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Thunder Bay, ON – The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) wishes to acknowledge the Indigenous women and children who have been lost due to violence, have survived violence, who are currently living in violent situations, as well as family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women. ONWA also wishes to acknowledge the Indigenous organizations that work to create safety for Indigenous women and their families. Healing belongs with Indigenous women and their communities, while Indigenous agencies like ONWA play an important role in ensuring that Indigenous women remain at the center of our shared responsibility.

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May 16, 2018

Barbra Schlifer Award: Dr Dawn Lavell-Harvard to Receive the 2018 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award

Award ceremony to take place during the Annual Tribute fundraising event

Toronto: May 9, 2018 – The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is proud to announce Dr Dawn Lavell-Harvard as the 2018 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award recipient. The Award, sponsored by Torys LLP, is given annually to a woman whose work is dedicated to improving the lives of women experiencing violence.

May 15, 2018

Youth Life Promotions Embracing Life Logo Contest Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Youth Life Promotions Embracing Life Logo Contest! A winner has been decided! Congratulations to Brandon Bruce for his amazing submission and incredible creativity.(Logo Prize of 200$ for Sportcheck and an Adventure Package for 5 with Boulder Bear Climing Centre)

April 18, 2018

The Urban Indigenous Action Plan Launch

Indigenous organizations and the Ontario government have worked together to co-develop the Urban Indigenous Action Plan. The Urban Indigenous Action Plan acts as a policy framework to guide Ontario in approaches to developing policies, programs and practices that better meet the needs and priorities of urban and rural Indigenous peoples, organizations and communities.

Click here to read the Urban Indigenous Action Plan

February 22, 2018

ONWA supports Ontario’s First Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Thunder Bay, ON – on February 22, 2018, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) supports Ontario’s First Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The Ontario government committed to raising awareness on this day through the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2017.

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February 14, 2018

ONWA Launches New Website In Solidarity With Community Driven Initiatives To End Violence

Thunder Bay, ON – on February 14, 2018, Indigenous people and allies from across the country will be gathering in solidarity  with vigils that began over 20 years on Vancouver’s downtown East side to call attention to the ongoing violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people.

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