Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Women and Girls

Lead Contact:  Mary Jane Abram , Legal Advisor

NSNWA envisions a world where Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people are safe from violence and free from discrimination. Canada must be held to the highest standard of human rights that exists in international and domestic law. Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people are rights holders. They have constitutional, reproductive and human rights that must not be violated. They deserve to have their free, prior and informed consent respected, upheld and defended.

In the past, many provinces in Canada had laws that allowed the forcible sterilization of many marginalized groups, including Indigenous women. This is a violation of human rights, Charter rights and reproductive rights of Indigenous women and girls.  Although those laws are no longer in effect, NSNWA has heard from women in NS that this is still happening.

Indigenous women in Nova Scotia began contacting NSNWA Secretary, Karina Matthews-Denny in late Winter 2019 after hearing about Senator Boyer on the news discussing the issue. Karina is Senator Daniel Christmas’ Administrative Assistant, the NSNWA Membertou Chapter President and NSNWA Executive Committee Secretary.  She brought this information to Senator Christmas who immediately connected her with Senator Boyer.  Senator Boyer came to Membertou in April 2019 to meet with NSNWA and Senator Christmas to share, learn and plan next steps of how to address the issue of Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Women and Girls in Nova Scotia.

NSNWA and NWAC’s Partners for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange (PEKE) project conducted two engagement sessions in Nova Scotia regarding Sexualized Violence with a focus of Forced Sterilization.  See image below. 

Regional Health Engagement Session – Kjipuktuk Notes

Regional Health Engagement Session – Unama’ki Notes

 

NSNWA Strategic Direction:

  1. Continue engagement efforts to identify and understand the historical and current impacts of Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Women and Girls in Nova Scotia
  2. NSNWA to work in partnership with NWAC in the development and implementation of a national strategy to address the issue of Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Women and Girls