MNO well-represented at summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment

svh summitMNO delegates at the summit. From left: Pearl Gabona, Sahra
MacLean, Rosalyn Calder, Sharon MacBride, Premier Kathleen
Wynne, Minister Tracy MacCharles, Kelly Duquette, Natasha
Morrissette, Jennifer Lord.

Submitted by Sahra MacLean, MNO Violence Against Aboriginal Women Coordinator

On November 19 and 20, 2015, Premier Kathleen Wynne hosted a two-day summit in Toronto as part of Ontario’s “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment” campaign. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) brought a delegation of strong Métis women to celebrate the work of the MNO in their Ending Violence Against Aboriginal Women program. Premier Wynne recognized the MNO and the delegation in her speech. Also in attendance were Tracy MacCharles, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, and David Zimmer, Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, who have been champions of MNO’s work to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women.

The summit is part of the “It’s Never Okay” action plan as released in March 2015. The MNO has been a key player in advancing the issue of ending violence, especially gender-based violence, and the devaluing of Aboriginal women, girls and Two-Spirit people. The delegation included the Women’s Secretariat of the Métis Nation of Ontario (WSMNO) representatives Sharon McBride, Roz Calder and Pearl Gabona, MNO Youth Representatives Kelly Duquette and Simone Blais, as well as staff members Jennifer Lord and Sahra MacLean.  MNO's Associate Chief Operating Officer, Margaret Froh, also attended to present on the need for more choices and better outcomes for survivors of sexual violence and harassment through the Justice System.

The MNO builds awareness of Ending Violence Against Aboriginal Women within the Métis community through its Honouring Métis women is part of our culture education campaign as well as the work of the WSMNO. WSMNO representative Pearl Gabona shared her work in ending violence, stating that the work made her “search inward to find my strength but also the caring, loving manner, supporting words and hope for healing.”  The power in this strength and healing is apparent, as shown by Premier Wynne mentioning the work of the MNO in her address.

The MNO had a strong presence at the summit, including giving presentations and leading an MNO Métis Faceless Dolls Workshop. Minister Tracy MacCharles enjoyed the workshop and was happy to see the MNO sharing its culture, knowledge and commitment.

Representatives of the Joint Working Group to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women, including the MNO, presented on the priorities that have been identified in addressing violence. This plenary session gave the opportunity for summit attendees to understand the connections between the legacy of colonial violence and the devaluing of Aboriginal people that has led to violence against Aboriginal people.

Published on: February 9, 2016

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