Northern women 'excluded' from federal shelter announcement

Monday, July 26 2010

Last Updated: Monday, June 25, 2007 | 9:24 AM CT
CBC News

Aboriginal women's groups in Nunavut and the Yukon decried $56 million in federal funding to build women's shelters in First Nations communities, saying the money leaves out aboriginal communities in the North.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Mary Simon said the funding, which Heritage Minister Bev Oda announced Friday at the first-ever National Aboriginal Women's Summit in Corner Brook, N.L., is earmarked for shelters on reserves. However, there are no reserves in the North.

"I have to say, because I'm representing Inuit women and other Inuit in Canada, that when you get excluded in an announcement … it doesn't provide for an optimistic feeling," Simon told CBC News.

The funding, to be spread over five years, allows for the building and renovation of women's shelters in First Nations communities.

Simon said Oda, the minister responsible for the status of women, told her she understood her frustration but did not make any further commitments.

The announcement also frustrated Adeline Webber, president of the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle, who said the 300 delegates at the summit agreed to include all aboriginal women — no matter where they lived — in discussing how to address domestic violence.

"It's a situation where we had talked these last two days, saying, you know, it has to be inclusive of all women, not just those on reserves," Webber said. "Obviously, that message didn't get through."

Both Webber and Simon said they will have more chances to bring up their concerns. Simon said Oda will be coming to Iqaluit in July to attend a meeting on the Qullit Status of Women's Council, and has promised to meet with Simon sometime in the future. Webber said delegates at the summit agreed to hold more meetings in the future.



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