Native Women's Association of Canada

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Native Women's Association of Canada
Abbreviation NWAC
Formation 1974
Type National Aboriginal Organization
Legal status active
Purpose advocate and public voice, educator and network
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Region served
Official language
English, French

The Native Women's Association of Canada, or NWAC, is one of Canada's National Aboriginal Organizations, and represents Aboriginal women, particularly First Nations and Métis women.[1] Inuit women are represented by the separate organization, Pauktuutit. Despite the existence of Pauktuutit and Women of the Métis Nation, NWAC has enjoyed more representation in meetings of Canadian leaders as they are generally viewed as the national voice representing Aboriginal women in Canada.[2]


NWAC was founded in 1973 as an aggregate of 13 Aboriginal women's groups from coast to coast to coast, with the goals of preserving Aboriginal culture, achieving equal opportunity for Aboriginal women, and having a role in shaping legislation relevant to Aboriginal women.[1] NWAC is led by a president and board of directors, who cooperate and exchange information with local organizations.[3]

Meanwhile, the Board studies the actions of the President and its provincial/territorial member associations and makes recommendations.[4]

In 1992, when the Charlottetown Accord was being negotiated, the federal government included four Aboriginal groups in negotiations and gave them money. NWAC, which was not included, alleged the four groups primarily represented Aboriginal men and launched a court challenge for representation, claiming to have been denied rights to freedom of expression under section 2 and sexual equality under section 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the case of Native Women's Association of Canada v. Canada (1994), the Supreme Court of Canada found against NWAC.

Past Presidents[edit]

  • In 2004 Beverley Jacobs was elected President. During her tenure she was best known for launching the Sisters in Spirit Campaign to raise awareness about the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. She was re-elected in 2006. Jacobs chose not to run in the 2009 election. Her own niece was tragically murdered that year.[5]

[6] [7][8]

  • In September 2009 Jeannette Corbiere Lavell was elected as the organization's new president.


  1. ^ a b Native Women's Association of Canada, "About Us," URL accessed 15 July 2006.
  2. ^ Frances Abele and Michael J. Prince, "Alternative Futures: Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Federalism," in Canadian Federalism: Performance, Effectiveness, and Legitimacy, eds. Herman Bakvis and Grace Skogstad, (Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 225.
  3. ^ Native Women's Association of Canada, "NWAC Structure," URL accessed 15 July 2006.
  4. ^ Native Women's Association of Canada, "Board of Directors," URL accessed 15 July 2006.
  5. ^ Native Leaders of Canada in New Federation
  6. ^ Bev Jacobs on Canada's murdered and missing indigenous women CBC As it Happens Tuesday April 14, 2015
  7. ^
  8. ^ By Paul Riggi Bev Jacobs A Sister in Spirit University of Windsor Alumni Magazine

External links[edit]