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Indigenous Women: Human Rights Protections and Activism

March 30, 2017 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Day-long (8:30am-4:30pm) symposium by UBSSW and partners (incl WNYPC). Central Public Library, Buffalo.

Two topics explored are: human rights activism around the hundreds of murdered and missing Indigenous women from First Nations in Canada, also known as the Stolen Sisters. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada recently established a new federal commission to investigate this epidemic. We have hopes that it may result in productive federal action and accountability.

We are honored to have as our keynote speaker, Beverly Jacobs, Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River. She is an activist, an attorney, and the former head of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. She was the primary researcher for the 2004 Amnesty International report, “Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada.”

The second topic is how Indigenous Peoples use of technology has enlarged the ways in which activists communicate and build online (and off-line) community. We will have examples of “Technology-assisted Activism” (as seen most recently with the #NoDAPL campaign and the Standing Rock Nation protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline) and lessons learned from these activists’ use of social media and other digital technology to grow support and develop new activists. Our speakers are Jaynie Parrish, Navaho Nation member, Instructor with the University of North Dakota American Indian Studies, and a social media consultant; and Melanie Sage, Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of North Dakota, who has published on the ethical use of social media for social workers.

The afternoon session will also feature panels on Activism by Indigenous Youth, the Role of Elders, and Coalition Building.

A resource packet (including such information as why the landmark 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples –UNDRIP – is such a landmark) and Ways to Take Action will be provided to all attendees.

Throughout the Americas, Indigenous women confront the individuals, groups, and governments who suppress human rights. Social workers, too, play a vital role in promoting and protecting human rights, bearing witness to violations, and addressing the resultant trauma. The profession works in cooperate with Indigenous women to remediate such violations.

This event will be held the day after the School of Social Work’s free film screening on March 29, of the feature-length documentary, “Highway of Tears,” with short films by and about Indigenous women in the Americas. Visit http://bit.ly/2lfrPGs for details.

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].


March 30, 2017
8:30 am - 4:30 pm