The BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly commit to honouring Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, supporting healthy families and communities, and breaking the cycles of violence and colonialism (Resolution 11/2020).
In 2018 Louisa Housty-Jones, a member and Councillor for the Heiltsuk Nation was elected by the BC Chief’s in Assembly as BCAFN Women’s Representative. As part of her role, Louisa sits on the national AFN Women’s Council.
Find out more about Louisa and her role as the BCAFN Women’s Representative here
The BCAFN Women’s Representative is an elected role. The next election is scheduled for BCAFN’s 2021 Annual General Meeting.
For further information contact Sarah Froese, BCAFN Policy Analyst
In May and June 2021 the BCAFN and the AFN Women’s Council co-hosted a series of virtual engagement sessions on the development of the National Action Plan on MMIWG2SLGBTQQIA+. A “What we Heard’ report based on these sessions and the written, audio, and video submissions that were received has been prepared. This report will be integrated into the AFN Women’s Council’s contribution to the National Action Plan, “Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice”. It will also serve as a foundation for BCAFN’s advocacy at the provincial and federal levels.
The “What we Heard” report highlights 5 priority areas for action that received the most input and will inform BCAFN’s advocacy: Human and Indigenous Rights and Governmental Obligations; Culture; Health and Wellness; Health and Wellness Service Providers; and Police Services.
BCAFN would like to express our gratitude to all the MMIWG2SLGBTQQIA+ family members and survivors who participated. This process captured your voices, knowledge, wisdom, and lived experiences. Your experience, voice, and perspective are so important as all governments, sectors of society, and indeed all people in Canada must work to implement “Reclaiming Power & Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice” in partnership with Indigenous people, and with the leadership of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, family members, and survivors. We raise our hands to each and every one of you for your courage, vulnerability, and faith in being a part of this process. We recognize the deeply personal nature of this crisis, and the decades of advocacy by so many.
At the same time, we acknowledge that this process was not perfect, and will work on ensuring BCAFN’s advocacy can be more representative and inclusive. We also acknowledge and respect those who chose not to participate in this process.
At the 2020 BCAFN Special Chiefs Assembly the Chiefs-in-Assembly supported the 2020 iteration of the Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Peoples’ Declaration. As a living document, the 2020 Declaration builds upon the work of the 2017 Declaration. The Declaration can continue to be shaped through discussion and feedback processes surrounding the Dialogue Sessions.
2020 Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People’s Declaration
The original Indigenous Women’s Declaration, which was developed during BCAFN’s first two Dialogue Sessions in 2017, was supported by the BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly at the 2018 Special Chiefs Assembly.
The BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly recognize the many benefits of hosting the Women’s Dialogue Sessions, and the need for a strategic, action-oriented plan to address the issues and calls to action identified in the Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Peoples’ Declaration.
The BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly directed the BC Assembly of First Nations to develop a strategic plan for addressing the Declaration and other issues that impact Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
This work is currently in preliminary stages. Draft material will be deliberated on at the next Women in Dialogue Session. In the meantime, BCAFN will continue to advocate in the areas outlined in the Declaration and BCAFN Resolutions and work collaboratively with organizations and individuals who share the BCAFN’s goals. Please check back and stay tuned for details.
The BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly recognize the many benefits of hosting the Women’s Dialogue Sessions.
Check the Events Calendar under Events and Meetings for upcoming Dialogue Sessions and other events.
Learn about the 2021 Dialogue Sessions, and view the final report here
Find information on the 2020 Women in Leadership Dialogue Session here
231 Calls for Justice and National Action Plan
The BCAFN is working with regional partners and as part of the AFN Women’s Council to support the implementation of the 231 Calls for Justice:
- In alignment with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
- Including the restoration of collective Indigenous women’s rights and governance.
- Through a comprehensive national-level integrated action plan that is Indigenous women-led
- Which “must address all the socio-economic factors impacting Indigenous women’s, girls’, trans and two-spirit’s safety including equitable access and self-determination over land, culture, language, housing, child care, income security, employment, education, and physical, mental, sexual and spiritual health,” as called for in Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside,
- Along with an appropriate budget and resources.
February 13, 2020 Coalition letter to Minister Bennett
November 25, 2019 BCAFN letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Lametti
June 3, 2019 BCAFN Welcomes the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls
May 6 2019 BCAFN Calls for Federal Government Action on Upcoming Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
May 3, 2019 Coalition letter to Minister Bennett
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
SECTION 2: Bill S-3
The BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly supported the immediate implementation of Bill S-3 and urges Canada, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, to implement the necessary mechanisms, reparations and processes by which we can recognize the full rights of all Indigenous women and their descendants.
As of August 15, 2019, all of the amendments proposed under Bill S-3, including the removal of the 1951 cut-off date, are in force, resulting in the elimination of all known sex-based inequities in the Indian Act. However, an end to this discrimination is not complete until those entitled to registration are enabled to register in a timely, efficient, and supported processes; and they receive the benefits due to them.
For background information and information on the registration process visit Indigenous Services Canada’s webpage
The discrimination against Indigenous women and their descendants through an imposed sex-based hierarchy was first introduced by the 1985 Indian Act in section 6(1)(a) and section 6(1)(c) and has since been continued and left unchallenged by the amendments of 2011 and 2017. On January 11, 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its decision on a petition filed by Sharon McIvor and Jacob Grismer. The UN Committee ruled that Canada was actively discriminating against First Nations women and their descendants by refusing to grant full 6(1)(a) status, on the same terms as First Nations men and their descendants.
The committee called on Canada to ensure that section 6(1)(a) of the 1985 Indian Act be interpreted to allow the registration of all persons who were previously not entitled to be registered under section 6(1)(a) solely as a result of the preferential treatment accorded to Indian men over Indian women born prior to 17 April 1985 and to patrilineal descendants over matrilineal descendants born prior to 17 April 1985; and to also take steps to address the residual discrimination within First Nations communities arising from the legal discrimination based on sex in the Indian Act. Additionally, the committee made clear that Canada is under the obligation to take steps to avoid similar violations in the future. In June 2017, the Senate of Canada amended Bill S-3, a bill to respond to the Descheneaux decision, in a way that would have eliminated the sex discrimination, fully and finally, from the Indian Act. The Government rejected the Senate’s amendment, but nonetheless, in October 2017, the Government of Canada agreed to include provisions that would entitle First Nations women and their descendants to full 6(1)(a) status on the same footing as First Nations men and their descendants.
Attachments and Links:
February 13, 2020 Coalition letter to Minister Bennett, Miller, and Monsef
August 22, 2019 BCAFN Statements on the Implementation of Bill S-3 and the Removal of Sex-Based Discrimination from the Indian Act
The Chiefs-in-Assembly have supported a number of initiatives regarding the safety, leadership, wellbeing, and elimination of violence against women and children.
Support for Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People Declaration and Strategy
Implementation of Recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls(a)>
Healing Programs for MMIWG2S Families
Implementation of Recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Development and Implementation of a National Action Plan on Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA
Immediate Implementation of Bill S-3 and the Removal of Sex-Based Discrimination from the Indian Act
2018-16 BCAFN Support for the Moose Hide Campaign
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Support for BC Indigenous Women’s Declaration
Support for Bill S-215, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Sentencing for Violent Offences Against Aboriginal Women) and Call to Action
Support for Declaration on Stopping Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls
Support for BC First Nations Women Leaders and Leadership
Support for Highway 16 - Highway of Tears Task Group
Support for Walk for Justice and Public Inquiry into Missing Women
Policy Change, Safety and Health
Native Women’s Association of Canada Ending Violence Association of BC Need Help information is for you or someone you know who may be experiencing violence or abuse. In this section, you will find information that:
- Explains the types, dynamics, and impacts of violence against women
- Explains many known risk factors
- Tells you who to call in an emergency
- Describes the kinds of services that are available to help you
- Tells you about safety planning
- Provides links to other resources and information here
First Nations Health Authority Health and Wellness Resources
If you are a family member of an Indigenous woman or girl who is missing or has been murdered, the BC Family Information Liaison Unit (BC FILU) can help you.
The B.C. government has criminal justice services and resources to support here for Indigenous people. This section provides links to organizations where you can find phone numbers you can call for help and support:
Women and Gender Equality Canada
BC Civil Forfeiture Office Grants & Compensation
Community Foundations of Canada
If you know of funding that may be of interest to First Nations women, girls, or 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals that you think should be added to this page please contact Sarah Froese, BCAFN Policy Analyst.
Mentorship and Opportunities
The Indigenous Mentorship Network of the Pacific Northwest (IMN-PN) is a network of Indigenous and allied students, researchers, academics, professionals and communities across British Columbia and the Yukon.
Indigenous Lawyers Mentorship Program
YWCA Circle of Sisters Indigenous Mentorship Program
Urban Native Youth Association
BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
Indigenous Youth Internship Program
International Aboriginal Youth Internships (IAYI) initiative
Banff Centre Indigenous Women in Leadership program
First Nations Public Service Secretariat mentorship and community for First Nations Administrators and staff
First Peoples Cultural Council Mentor-Apprentice language learning program
Other local organizations, municipalities, and First Nations governments may also have mentorship opportunities in your region.
If you know of a mentorship program or opportunity for First Nations women, girls, or 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals that you think should be added to this page please contact Sarah Froese, BCAFN Policy Analyst