Women's Directorate

Women's Directorate

Women's Directorate

Aboriginal women's equality

Native Women's Association of Canada President Michele AudetteWe work with Yukon Aboriginal women's organizations and First Nations governments to identify and address barriers to Aboriginal women's equality in leadership development, wellness and education.

We provide strategic analysis, advice and we plan, coordinate and implement the development of policy and program initiatives that relate to women's equality in the social, economic, health and legal fields.

Image: Native Women's Association of Canada President Michele Audette

Community Partners

Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society

The Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society (LAWS) is a non-profit, charitable, community-based, aboriginal organization providing social development services to the Kaska Nation in the Yukon and northern British Columbia. The organization was established and registered in the Yukon as a non-profit society in 1998. The Society is served by a six member Board of Directors, an Executive Director, and an Administrative Assistant. Offices of the Society are located in Watson Lake, Yukon.

P.O. Box 3
Watson Lake, YT Y0A 1C0
Phone: (867) 536-2097
Fax: Fax: (867) 536-2810
Website: www.liardaboriginalwomen.ca

Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle

The Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle (WAWC) is a non-profit organization that provides culturally relevant programs and services that enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Aboriginal Women in Whitehorse, YT. WAWC's primary objectives are to advocate on behalf of Aboriginal women, to promote awareness of issues affecting Aboriginal women through education and training, and to foster a sense of community among Aboriginal women through shared dialogue, sewing circles, culture camps, mentorship programs, workshops and conferences.


Suite 6, 4320 4th Avenue

Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1G7
Phone: (867) 668-7532
Website: www.wawc.ca


Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council

The Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council is an organization that is dedicated to advancing the interests of Aboriginal women in the Yukon including Status, Non-Status, Indians and Metis. YAWC works to support and enforce the rights of Aboriginal women and the civil and human rights of all Native women in the Yukon and Northern B.C., and works to help Aboriginal women increase their feeling of adequacy and their sense of responsibility through planning, developing and managing self-help projects. The organization has played an active role in encouraging Aboriginal women to assume a more positive and active part in developing skills to support their people, and has promoted and aided in the development and preservation of  First Nations culture, arts and handicrafts. YAWC remains non-partisan in its activities and dealings with the Government and political parties of Canada.

102-307 Jarvis Street
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2H3
Phone: (867) 667-6162
Toll Free: 1-800-667-6162
Fax: (867) 668-7539
Website: www.yawc.ca


Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls

National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls

The National Roundtable was co-hosted on February 27, 2015 in Ottawa by the five National Aboriginal Organizations: the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Pauktuutit, the Métis National Council and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The National Roundtable discussions were focussed in three theme areas: prevention and awareness; community safety plans and protocols; and policing measures and justice responses.


The objectives of the roundtable were to:

·         Create a dialogue with all levels of government, Indigenous representatives and families to effectively address the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls; and

·         Identify solutions and collaborative means of moving them forward, including ongoing engagement of Indigenous peoples, families and communities, to reduce and eventually eliminate all forms of violence.


The outcomes of the National Roundtable are:

·         a joint commitment to continue working together to prevent and end violence against Indigenous women and girls;

·         a second national roundtable by the end of 2016;

·         the development of a prevention and awareness campaign; and

·         support for an inaugural forum to explore best practices and better coordinate and share information on policing and justice responses, hosted by the Province of Manitoba.


Yukon Sisters in Spirit

The Yukon Sisters in Spirit Initiative stems from the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Sisters in Spirit Campaign that was developed to create awareness about the high rates of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. From 2010-2013, the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, a provincial/territorial member of NWAC, developed and delivered the Yukon Sisters in Spirit Project, which linked closely with the national Sisters in Spirit Initiative (2005-2010), and the subsequent “Evidence to Action” project (2010-present). The objectives of the Yukon Sisters in Spirit project were:

  • Research the circumstances and events surrounding missing and murdered Aboriginal women from the Yukon;
  • Create resources for families and communities of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Yukon;
  • Talk to families of the women, and involve them in raising awareness about violence and crime against Aboriginal women.

For more information on Yukon Sisters in Spirit, go to:  http://www.yawc.ca/Yukon_Sisters_in_Spirit.html

For more information on the national Sisters in Spirit project, visit http://www.nwac.ca/sisters-spirit

For more information on the “Evidence to Action” project, go to:


Prevention of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund (PVAAW)

Prevention of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund (PVAAW) Annual Projects

The Yukon Government is committed to supporting Aboriginal women and providing opportunities to decrease violence against Aboriginal women and advance Aboriginal women’s equality, leadership and wellness. The Prevention of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund (PVAAW) supports projects designed and developed by and for Aboriginal women and their communities. Current (2014-16) Projects include:


Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre – Walking With Our Sisters ($25,000)

Walking With Our Sisters is a commemorative art installation to honor the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada and the United States; to acknowledge the grief the families of these women continue to experience; and to raise awareness of this issue and create opportunity for broad community-based dialogue on the issue. The Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre and the Yukon Arts Centre have partnered to co-present the memorial art exhibition in 2015 in Whitehorse and host a number of social programs for Yukoners in connection with the project, including private opening for families, beading groups, community conversations, healing groups, men’s group circles, a sacred fire ceremony, and a volunteer appreciation feast to conclude the project. Walking With Our Sisters is a grassroots project composed of 1,700 pairs of vamps (moccasin tops) created and donated to the exhibition by community members from around the country and the world, including four pairs from Yukon.

Contact: Krista Reid – (867) 456-5322


Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society – Building a Circle of Response-Based Practice ($25,000)

“Building a Circle of Response-Based Practice” is a knowledge-sharing project intended to broaden awareness of response-based practice among front-line community agencies responding to the issue of violence against women and more broadly to related social justice issues. The “Building a Circle of Response-Based Practice” project will offer three response-based practice community workshops in Watson Lake focused on understanding violence and approaches to violence from a response-based perspective. 

Contact: Ann Maje Raider – (867) 536-2097


Selkirk First Nation - Prevention of Violence Against Women in Pelly Crossing ($50,000)

This community-based project will facilitate a community-wide conversation in Pelly Crossing and teach people about the prevention of violence against women. The project will engage community members in designing and delivering a community-based workshop on gender equality and prevention of gender-based violence in addition to creating a promotional and educational campaign. This project will be developed from a Yukon First Nation perspective and aims to provide education opportunities and supports for both community members and Selkirk First Nation staff to increase the community’s capacity to respond to violence.

Contact: Milly Johnson – (867) 537-3331 ext. 244


Skookum Jim Friendship Centre – Women of Wisdom ($50,000)

Women of Wisdom seeks to support Aboriginal women who are living with violence, or who have experienced some form of trauma, ranging from intimate partner violence, to horizontal violence, to culture loss. This project works with Aboriginal women in identifying the sources of their trauma and ways they can navigate or overcome feelings of inadequacy, depression and low self-respect. By offering actual skills through traditional teaching sessions and knowledge rooted in Aboriginal customs, women equip themselves with the tools needed to develop personal awareness and recognize individual worth. This project hosts bi-weekly workshops on a variety of topics identified by participants in addition to offering land-based weekend workshops in the summer and early fall.

Contact: Teagan Lee – (867) 633-7698


Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre – A Safe Place ($50,000)

A Safe Place is a pilot program offered jointly by the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, the Yukon Status of Women Council and Council of Yukon First Nations. The project offers low-barrier, after-hours and weekend facilitated drop-in programming and a nutritious meal to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women, targeting marginalized women and their children experiencing precarious housing, food insecurity, and/or mental ill health in Whitehorse. The skilled staff responds to the needs expressed by the participants and provides referrals to appropriate services, support and safety.

Contact: Hillary Aitken – (867) 667-2693


National Aboriginal Women’s Organizations

Native Women’s Association of Canada

The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada. NWAC is actively involved with partner organizations across the globe towards this goal, including the United Nations and Amnesty International to end the discrimination against Indigenous women.

Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC)
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa ON   K1N 7B7
Tel: (613) 722-3033
Toll-free: (800) 461-4043
Fax: (613) 722-7687
Website: www.nwac.ca


Pauktuutit is the national voice of Inuit women in Canada. Pauktuutit fosters greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, advocates for equality and social improvements, and encourages their participation in the community, regional and national life of Canada. Pauktuutit leads and supports Inuit women in Canada in policy development and community projects in all areas of interest to them for the social, cultural, political and economic betterment of the women, their families and communities.

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
520 – 1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Phone: (613) 238-3977
Toll Free: 1-800-667-0749
Fax: (613) 238-1787
email: info@pauktuutit.ca

Women of the Metis Nation

Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak , carrying on business as “Women of the Métis Nation” (WMN), is the national body that represents the interests of Métis Women and provides them a much-needed voice at the local, provincial, national and international level. It is WMN’s primary goal to improve the lives and well-being of Métis Women and the Métis Nation.  WMN invites the participation of all Métis Women in the formulation of its policies and strategies for dealing with issues important to Métis Women and their communities.

Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak
#4 – 340 MacLaren Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0M6
Tel: (613) 232-3216
Fax: (613) 232-4262
Website: http://metiswomen.org/en/
Email:  info@metiswomen.org


National Initiatives for Aboriginal Women

National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS I)

In June of 2007, the first National Aboriginal Women's Summit (NAWS I) was held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and was co-hosted by the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador with NWAC President Jacobs. This Summit brought together Aboriginal women from across Canada and resulted in numerous recommendations aimed at improving social/economic conditions of Aboriginal women and their families under three theme areas:

  • Health, Safety and Wellness
  • Equality and Empowerment
  • Strength, Balance and Honour

Download the NAWS I PDF Report here: 2008 NAWS I Summary Report 

National Aboriginal Women’s Summit II (NAWS II)

The second National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS II) was held in July 2008 in Yellowknife, NWT, and was co-hosted by Premier Floyd Roland, Government of the Northwest Territories and Beverly Jacobs, who was the President of Native Women’s Association of Canada, with support from a national Planning Committee, which included GNWT, NWAC, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN); Métis National Council (MNC); Women of the Métis Nation (WMN); Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK); Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP); Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada; National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence (NACAFV).  Hundreds of Aboriginal women delegates from all across the country gathered together and met with provincial, territorial and federal governments to further advance issues currently faced by Aboriginal women in Canada. Through presentations and plenary discussions, NAWS II built upon and advanced the recommendations developed at NAWS I in the three theme areas of: health, safety and wellness; equality and empowerment; strength, balance and honour.

Download the report.

National Aboriginal Women’s Forum (NAWF)

In June of 2011, the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (BC MARR) and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) co-hosted the Collaboration to End Violence: National Aboriginal Women’s Forum. The Musqueam Indian Band, upon whose traditional territory the event was held, gave the forum its name, ən ct ʔiʔθəyθət ct, which translates as we are courageous and we are healing ourselves.

More than 250 people from all provinces and territories in Canada attended the forum, with participants including representatives of provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, national Aboriginal organizations, and First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities and community-based organizations. The agenda included three working sessions in which participants developed recommendations for actions to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls. The first session focused on post-incident support, the second on intervention and the third on prevention.

Download the NAWF PDF report here: 2011 NAWF Final Report

National Aboriginal Women’s Summit III (NAWS III)

In November, 2012, representatives from every province and territory along with the five National Aboriginal Organizations gathered in Winnipeg, Manitoba to engage in the third National Aboriginal Women’s Summit, aimed at ending the national tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. The Yukon Government supported several family members of missing and murdered Aboriginal women to attend the third National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS3). The summit was established to further coordinate efforts underway nationally and in several jurisdictions aimed at addressing violence against Aboriginal women and girls. The NAWS III was co-hosted by Manitoba’s Premier, Greg Selinger and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and featured a community gathering and ceremony where family members were able to honour the memories of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The Summit also included a roundtable discussion of provincial and territorial representatives and National Aboriginal Leaders, where participants agreed that addressing the issues facing Aboriginal women and communities requires a broad cross-section of society collaborating to create change.

Discussions at NAWS III focused on several priority areas including:

  • Prevention and Awareness
  •  Investigation and Enforcement
  • Support for Victims and Families

National Aboriginal Women’s Summit IV (NAWS IV)

The fourth National Aboriginal Women's Summit was co-hosted by the province of Nova Scotia and the Native Women's Association of Canada. The Summit was held in Membertou, Nova Scotia from October 20-22, 2014.  The theme for NAWS IV was Equity, Empowerment, and Leadership, and the Summit will be focused on the development of a socioeconomic action plan to ensure that Aboriginal women and girls who are victims of violence are no longer caught in poverty.



Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Initiatives

2007 Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summits (YAWS)

In November 2007, The Government of Yukon Women’s Directorate (WD) and the Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues (YACWI) co-hosted two successful Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summits (YAWS) in Watson Lake and Whitehorse.  Approximately 150 participants took part in the YAWS including Yukon Aboriginal women, Chiefs, Ministers and government officials.

The theme of the two Yukon summits was “Strong Women, Strong Communities:  Furthering Aboriginal Women’s Equality.”  The goals of the summits were to communicate the outcomes of the NAWS to Yukon Aboriginal women and to determine Yukon Aboriginal Women’s priorities for furthering Aboriginal women’s equality.

The outcomes of the two Summits included 13 Key Messages and 54 Recommendations in the three themed areas of Education, Leadership Development, and Wellness which we have produced into a final document titled “Strong Women, Strong Communities: Furthering Aboriginal Women’s Equality – Priorities and Key Messages.”

Download the YAWS Final Report here: 2008 YAWS Final Recommendations Key Messages

YAWS Implementation Projects

The 2007 Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summits provided an excellent opportunity for Aboriginal women to come together to network and support one another in furthering Aboriginal women’s equality. After hearing the clear message of “action” from the YAWS, the Government of Yukon, in partnership with all 14 Yukon First Nations and Aboriginal women’s organizations engaged in discussions on how to collaboratively implement some of the recommendations from the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summits

In 2009, the Northern Strategy Trust was identified as an excellent opportunity to fund the implementation of the recommendations from the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summits, and a joint application was submitted by Yukon Government and all 14 Yukon First Nations. The proposal was successful, and the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summits Implementation projects received $450,000 from April, 2010 to March, 2013. Aboriginal women’s organizations developed and delivered the following six (6) projects over 3 years in the areas of public education and leadership development, with capacity support from the Women’s Directorate. These projects have nowconcluded, and an evalution of the projects has been completed. Read the executive summary of the evaluation.

Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summit 2 (YAWS2)

The Women’s Directorate and the Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues co-hosted the second Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summit in October, 2012 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse. Approximately 80 Aboriginal women attended, along with representation from Chiefs, Ministers and government officials. The theme of the Summit was Strong Women, Strong Communities: Restoring Our Balance. The Summit engaged participants in identifying and setting priorities for future work on Aboriginal women’s issues in Yukon. Aboriginal women who delegates identified 12 Recommendations in a number of key areas related to Aboriginal women’s equality in Yukon, and provide direction to move forward on these issues. In addition, participants were asked to reflect and provide feedback on the impacts of the first YAWS Implementation Projects. Read the 2012 YAWS 2 Summary Report

YAWS 2 Implementation

Following the YAWS2 in October, 2012, the Women’s Directorate has been engaged with Aboriginal women’s groups on how to implement some of the recommendations from the 2012 Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summit 2. The Women’s Directorate has committed $450,000 over three years (2013-2016) to support Aboriginal women’s organizations in developing projects that respond to the recommendations made at YAWS 2. This funding will begin on April 1, 2013, and will support the following community-based projects: 

 Kaska Language Camp – Liard Aboriginal Women's Society

This project will develop and deliver a Kaska language immersion camp that will share traditional knowledge about Kaska culture and ways of life. The camp will be held at Frances Lake in August, 2013, and will build on the Elder-Youth Land Based Camp project that LAWS developed as part of the first YAWS Implementation.

Together for Justice - Liard Aboriginal Women's Society

Together For Justice: On Language, Violence, and Responsibility will continue a series of workshops delivered over a one-year period in Watson Lake and Whitehorse, hosted by the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society. There have been 5 workshops in each respective community since 2011. The primary goal of the workshops is to address and prevent violence by promoting dialogue and improving the relationships between Kaska women; Help & Hope for Families (the local women’s shelter) and other government agencies in Watson Lake; women's groups in Whitehorse; community members; and the RCMP. The ongoing project aims to create a community action plan, encourage systemic change within RCMP training and performance, and inform policies that will improve the delivery of social services and policing for women living in Kaska and other Yukon communities.

Response Based Approaches To Working With Offenders – Liard Aboriginal Women's Society

This project will deliver a two-day workshop in Whitehorse to a variety of community organizations and agencies that builds capacity and skills to provide response-based programming to men who use violence. This workshop will focus specifically on the following themes: establishing safety, responsibility/accountability, individual and group work, response-based interviewing, contemporary treatment models, law enforcement, justice programs and the legal process.

 Suicide Prevention and Life Skills Project – WAWC

The project will bring awareness to the tragedy of suicide affecting young Aboriginal women and their families in the Yukon. The project will create and provide tools for identifying and reducing risk factors through a variety of approaches: community information workshops, Elder and youth consultation and mentorship, compiling information resources, and providing training to encourage youth leadership in promoting mental health. The project will address the largely overlooked incidence of self-harm occurrences among young Aboriginal women, through community awareness, encouraging dialogue, and providing resources within the community that will make available ‘first response’ and referral services, as well as a heightened understanding within the community of risk factors, the need for accessible culturally-relevant resources and treatment practices. o   Honouring Our Sisters – WAWC

Honouring Our Sisters - Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle

This project is a providing culturally appropriate programming and space to support Yukon communities and individuals to heal and mourn missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Yukon. The project utilizes culture and traditional knowledge as healing mechanisms and provides on-site counselling supports for individuals, families, and communities that are grieving. In addition, the project will result in a Yukon-specific visual representation being developed and displayed at the April 2015 Walking With Our Sisters display, that will reflect Yukon’s cultural heritage, and honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Yukon, while supporting their families to heal.

Leading the Way – Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle

This project will develop and deliver an Aboriginal women’s leadership symposium in 2014-15, and in 2015-16, a coaching and mentorship program that will pair Yukon Aboriginal women with mentors, providing development opportunities in three key areas: education, career path, and culture.

Brothers in Spirit Symposium – Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council

This project was designed to strengthen relationships with community organizations and provide opportunities to work together to develop practices and programs that work for people in Yukon in preventing violence against Aboriginal women. The focus of the project was increasing awareness and community dialogue about the opportunities for men to talk about their journey, roles, and responsibilities in ending violence, and act as positive role models for youth by choosing not to use violence.

 Brothers in Spirit Poster Campaign - Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council

This project will develop a poster campaign that promotes respect and features Aboriginal men and boys who role model non-violence, and promote tradition and culture. This project builds on the 2013-14 Brothers in Spirit Symposium recommendations, by strengthening support and using culture to build the identities of men so that they can be strong, healthy community members. 

Rites of Passage – Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council

This project will deliver a 7-day land-based camp for 30 women that provides inter-cultural rites of passage teachings to 3 age groups: youth (10), middle-aged (10), and Elders (1). This camp is designed to build cultural strength and identity and teach traditional knowledge and customs while building on the strengths of women.