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Amplifying the voices of Indigenous youth at the United Nations

Updated: Apr 29

New York City, New York, USA – The Ontario Native Women’s Organization (ONWA) is proud to join thousands of Indigenous Peoples at the 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII23). The session is taking place April 15-26, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

As the oldest and largest Indigenous women’s organization in Canada, ONWA is representing over 30 Indigenous women’s groups through our association. With over 50 years of experience in activism, community development, policy analysis, and front-line services, ONWA seeks to amplify the voices and perspectives of Indigenous women, and in particular, Indigenous youth, on the global stage.

The theme for this year’s UNPFII session is, “Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth”. Members of ONWA’s Board of Directors’ Youth Council will be attending and stepping in to their leadership roles to ensure their voices are heard.

“Young Indigenous women are the future leaders of our families, communities, and nations - it is important to support Indigenous youth to take up their leadership roles. Their voices, and those of all Indigenous women, are critical at these UN sessions. Under UNDRIP, and echoed in CEDAW General Recommendation 39, we have the right to be empowered in our roles as leaders and knowledge-bearers, and to be at decision-making tables.” – Cora McGuire-Cyrette, CEO, ONWA

Throughout the session, ONWA will call for a continued focus on Indigenous women, youth, and girls at all future UNPFII sessions and across the entire United Nations system. ONWA will also engage in various activities to promote and strengthen Indigenous women’s leadership in support of cultural preservation, environmental stewardship, and social justice. This includes making formal statements and collaborating with other Indigenous women and their organizations to advance shared goals and priorities. 

This year, ONWA will also host two side events at the UN headquarters that will focus on unbraiding the impacts of colonization and building collective solidarity to influence change at UNPFII and upcoming United Nations’ sessions.

ONWA invites all members of society to join in the collective effort to advance the rights and leadership of Indigenous women, youth, and girls worldwide.

Follow ONWA’s UNPFII23 journey at: 

For more information and media inquiries, contact: 

Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager

Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)

About the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The UNPFII is an advocacy body to the Economic and Social Council, established to provide expert advice and recommendations on Indigenous issues. The UNPFII work to promote Indigenous peoples’ rights, sustainable development and cooperation between Indigenous peoples and Member States. Each year, the forum convenes to address key challenges and opportunities facing Indigenous communities worldwide. For more information about the permanent forum visit:


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