By Trudie Broderick, 1st year MDP student
|Trudie and Michelle Odette, NWAC President|
After completing a three month volunteer placement in Ottawa with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), sadly my summer has finally come to an end.
I have now arrived back in Manitoba in time to begin my final year in the MDP program.
My time at NWAC helped deepen my understanding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in Canada. In particular, it broadened my understanding of issues impacting Aboriginal females across North America.
NWAC’s work currently focuses on the serious issue of the significant numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. At present, it primarily aims to challenge laws that fail to protect Aboriginal women and girls from sexual violence including trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
This was not an area that I had worked in prior to arriving on NWAC’s doorstep – the lessons I have taken from NWAC will stay with me forever. Learning about the experiences of women and girls who have been or are being trafficked for sex gave me no choice but to think about my own life as a woman. It forced me to think about the treatment of Aboriginal women here in Canada and then reflect on the position of our women and girls back home in Australia. Our shared historical experiences demonstrated just how closely aligned we are even though we are from opposite sides of the globe.
During my time with NWAC, I participated in everything from fund raising activities, to creating surveys and drafting internal and external reports and articles for the annual newsletter. I gained experience in drafting media releases and assisted in organising NWAC’s 40th Annual General Assembly (AGA). Held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the AGA and then to stay on for the Assembly of First Nations 35th AGA which occurred around the same time.In addition, I participated in several peaceful protests on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill during the drafting of Canada’s new anti-prostitution Bill.
|Trudie on Parliament Hill|