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ONWA at 2023 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Updated: Apr 21

ONWA is attending the 2023 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)!

 

Indigenous Women: Stronger Together


Indigenous women from around the world are gathered in New York for the 22nd Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is proud to be attending to continue to amplify the voices of Indigenous women internationally.



 

Highlights from the 2023 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

April 17 - 22

 

ONWA's Mother Earth Strategy


Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is committed to developing an internal and external Mother Earth (ME) strategy that reflects Indigenous women’s responsibilities, traditional ecological knowledge, and practices. The strategy will be developed with feedback from ONWA's membership and Indigenous women and girls across Ontario, and through engagement with national and international water and land protectors. The ME strategy will guide ONWA in the protection of the natural environment through ceremony, knowledge mobilization, and traditional practices. ONWA will strive to become a Centre of Excellence in the work to protect the environment and address climate change, acknowledging the leadership of all Indigenous women land- and water-protectors who have been at the forefront of action in protecting Mother Earth.



 

Recommendation 1 - Nation-to-Nation-PLUS Approach



 

Mr. Dario Mejía Montalvo, Chair of the 22nd session of the UNPFII

Mr. Dario Mejía Montalvo, Chair of the 22nd session of the UNPFII, speaks at the opening ceremony of the struggles and strengths of Indigenous women. He noted it is common to hear “leave no one behind” in international forums, but focus should be on not leaving anyone outside of decision making. He also noted that without plans for States to implement Indigenous peoples rights, it’s just another path to paint colonization by another colour.


 

ONWA leadership – staff, board members, youth council, and Grandmothers - are proud to be attending the UNPFII to continue to amplify the voices of Indigenous women internationally.


ONWA’s membership consists of 13 Chapters and 21 councils , representative of ONWA’s four regional directions – North, South, East, West – throughout the province.


 

Left to right: Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director, and Debra Vermette, ONWA President
Left to right: ONWA Youth Directors Shanaya Echum and Alana Robert
Elder Catherine Everson (left) with her daughter, and ONWA’s Director of Research in Research and Evaluation, Ingrid Green (right)
Left to right: Cheryl Bagnall, ONWA Director of Community Services, Roxanne Ruediger, ONWA Director of Corporate Services, and Tina Bobinski, ONWA Senior Director Community Development

“Indigenous women continue to sustain our families and communities through the re-claiming of our leadership and breaking of cycles. The Permanent Forum is a collective bridge to addressing the violence and systemic injustice we face as Indigenous women.” - Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director


 


 


 


Queen Mother Delois Blakely - American former nun, religious leader, pan-Africanist, writer, activist, humanitarian, being gifted a copper pail necklace by Meena Deol, ONWA Senior Strategy Implementation & Intergovernmental Operational Advisor


The copper pail necklace honours the sacred relationship with water. The copper cup symbolizes the importance of clean water and how we all have a responsibility to protect and care for this precious element. In wearing the necklace, you have the opportunity to nourish yourself and others as water carriers. An Elder shared that this sacred item is a reminder to always speak in a mindful way; to be positive in your being, to speak truth and honesty, and to be impeccable with your word.


 

Recommendation 2 - Core Sustainable Funding



 

Left to right: Lisa Echum, ONWA Board Director, and Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director

ONWA supports Indigenous women’s rights: to have their own agencies; to be engaged on issues that impact them; to reclaim their leadership.


 

Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director
Left to right: Ingrid Green, ONWA Director of Research in Research and Evaluation; Mr. Francisco Calí Tzay, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Mayan Cakchiquel from Guatemala
Dr. Lanoi Parmuat, Executive Director Ewang'an Nadede Advocacy Initiative (ENAI) Africa
Left to right: Ingrid Green, ONWA Director of Research in Research and Evaluation; Tina Bobinski, ONWA Senior Director Community Development; Elder Catherine Everson

Indigenous women from around the world are gathered in New York for UNPFII to discuss Indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights.


 


 


 


We are stronger together. Traditionally, Indigenous women gather to discuss challenges and solutions. Dedicated spaces for Indigenous women at levels of decision making need to be ensured.


ONWA leadership attending the UNPFII to continue to amplify the voices of Indigenous women internationally.


 

Recommendation 3 - Indigenous Gender Based Analysis



 


ONWA is connecting with Assembly of Seven Generations (A7G) at the UNPFII. A7G is an Indigenous youth led & driven grassroots, non-profit organization focused on community support and opportunities for Indigenous youth, based on Unceded Algonquin Territory.


 

Left to right: Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director; Queen Mother Delois Blakely- American former nun, religious leader, pan-Africanist, writer, activist, humanitarian; Tina Bobinski, ONWA Senior Director Community Development; Roxanne Ruediger, ONWA Director of Corporate Services
Left to right: Alana Robert, ONWA Youth Directors; Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director; Debra Vermette, ONWA President; Lisa Echum, ONWA Board Director
Milka Kuto, Indigenous People Representative and the Indigenous People Representative to National REDD+ Steering from Kenya, being gifted a copper pail necklace from ONWA.
Left to right: Lisa Echum, ONWA Board Director; Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director; Mr. Francisco Calí Tzay, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Krystal Brant, ONWA Board Secretary; Shanaya Echum, ONWA Youth Director

ONWA is at the UNPFII to continue to build Indigenous women’s capacity by listening, learning, and developing relations with Indigenous women around the world.


 

Left to right: Makanalani M. Gomes, Co-Chair UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus from Hawai’i; Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director; Cheryl Bagnall, ONWA Director of Community Services
Left to right: Tina Bobinski, ONWA Senior Director Community Development; Mr. Francisco Calí Tzay, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

ONWA stands in unity with women and girls around the world! When Indigenous women come together & are empowered, there is no limit to what can be achieved.


 


“We are the guardians, we have the knowledge, and we must be heard. Action must be taken.” Lisa Echum, ONWA Board Director


 


Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director, speaks at the United Nations, New York for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).


The violence we face is due to two main factors: we are Indigenous, and we are women. Governments must support Indigenous women’s organizations through core funding so that we can provide the safe spaces for Indigenous women, by Indigenous women. We have seen the violence against our Indigenous sisters and non-Indigenous sisters decline as a result of the investment into their safety. We are calling for equal and equitable investments into our safety. As a basic human right, we have a right to live." - Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director


 

The passion and commitment of Indigenous women is key to building a safe, prosperous, and healthy future throughout our communities and the world for generations to come.


 

Left to right: Cheryl Bagnall, ONWA Director of Community Services; Julia King, ONWA Associate Manager; Cora McGuire-Cyrette, ONWA Executive Director; Shanaya Echum, ONWA Youth Director; Roxanne Ruediger, ONWA Director of Corporate Services; Alana Robert, ONWA Youth Director