Assembly of First Nations Women's Council asks public for support on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (December 6)

    CALGARY, Dec. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chair of the AFN Women's Council,
Kathleen McHugh, is calling on Canadians to donate food, clothing and toys to
women's shelters tomorrow, as a way to commemorate the National Day of
Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. She is also inviting media
to visit the Awo Taan Native Women's Shelter, on December 6th from 10:30 a.m.
to 12:30 p.m, in Calgary, where she serves as a counsellor.
    "For First Nations people, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on
Violence Against Women is a time to reflect on why so many of our women are
dying from violence at a much high rate than other Canadian women," said
Kathleen McHugh. "The AFN Women's Council is looking for long-term solutions
to family violence and ways to offer safety and support to First Nations women
and children regardless of where they live."
    First Nations women are significantly more likely than other Canadians to
experience spousal violence. Within a five-year period ending in 2001,
25 percent of First Nations women were assaulted by a current or former
spouse. This is three times the rate for non-First Nations women. Rates of
spousal homicide among First Nations women are more than eight times higher
than for non-First Nations women. In addition, it is estimated that more than
500 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered since the 1960s.
    "Donations of food, clothing and toys are appreciated to help women who
are trying to re-establish their lives after facing family violence," said
Geri Manyfingers, the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Awo Taan
Native Women's Shelter. "Toys would be especially appreciated with Christmas
just a few weeks away."
    As a counsellor at the shelter, Kathleen McHugh knows first-hand the
trauma and hardships faced by women who are fleeing from violence. As Chair of
the AFN Women's Council she has also been a key player in addressing the
violence faced by Aboriginal women, by supporting the Sisters in Spirit
Campaign, and by advocating for long-term solutions to premiers, federal and
provincial ministers at the National Aboriginal Women's Summit. (NAWS). The
AFN Womens' Council plans to make the subject a key issue at the next NAWS
meeting scheduled for 2008 in the Northwest Territories.

    The Awo Taan Native Women's Shelter Society is a 27-bed, full service
emergency shelter that provides services to women and children from all
cultures who have suffered from family violence and all forms of abuse. The
shelter operates 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, and is run by a dedicated
staff. Clients are always presented with other options so they are not left
with the only option of returning to the violent or abusive environment from
which they left.

    The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was
established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, to commemorate the murders of
14 young women at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, in 1989. It is also an
opportunity to recognize that violence is a daily reality for many women and
girls and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations people in Canada.

    Event:   Media are invited to tour the Awo Taan Native Women's Shelter
    When:    December 6, 2007 - 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
    Where:   Calgary, Alberta
    For specific address and contact info: See media contact

For further information:

For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Communications Officer, Health
Secretariat, (613) 241-6789 ext 210, (613) 292-1877,

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