Sessions by and about Aboriginal and Indigenous women proliferate international women's congress

2 July 2011, OTTAWA - Aboriginal and Indigenous women make up a substantial part of the programming and presenter line-up at Women's Worlds 2011, an international women's congress taking place in Ottawa-Gatineau from 3-7 July.

WW 2011 is an international and interdisciplinary congress that will explore how issues like equality, human rights, economics, labour, education, environment, and development relate to women.

To ensure their meaningful participation and prominence of Indigenous women's issues, an Aboriginal Women's Leadership Circle was struck in early 2010 to advise on the recognizing and honouring of Indigenous perspectives, experiences, knowledge, culture, and territory within this congress.

It is due in no small part to the efforts of this Circle that Aboriginal content is represented so vibrantly within the program. An itemized list of Aboriginal programming is below.

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A global convergence to advance women's equality through research, exchange, leadership, and action, Women's Worlds 2011 convenes women from across the world to CONNECT and CONVERSE about women's rights and equality. Academics, activists, researchers, policy-makers, and artists will exchange under the broad theme of Inclusions, exclusions, and seclusions: Living in a globalized world. In addition, each day's content is inspired by a distinct theme: Breaking Cycles, Breaking Ceilings, Breaking Barriers, Breaking Ground.

Just some of the Aboriginal content in the WW 2011 Official Program:

7:30-10pm, 3 July - Emceeing the Opening Ceremony are Tina Keeper of Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba (actor, producer, researcher, communicator, and former Member of Parliament) and Alanis Obomsawin of the Abenaki First Nation (documentarian and filmmaker)

7:30-10pm, 3 July - Performing at the Opening Ceremony is Tanya Tagaq, renowned Inuit throat singer and musical innovator; the Nemisak Singers; and actress Doreen Stevens

9:30-11:30am, 4 July - Participating as a keynote speaker in the opening plenary session, Monica Chuji Gualinga, Kichwa from Ecuador; Chair of the Constituent Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Biodiversity

9:30-11:30am, 4 July - introduction of Jaime Koebel, Metis artist and creator of the hand painted drums that will be presented as official gifts from the congress to special guests.

9:30-11:30am, 5 July - Waneek Horn-Miller, a Mohawk from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory on the south shore of Montreal and co-captain of Canada's national waterpolo team for the 2000 Sydney Olympic games

1:00-2:30pm, 4 July - What the Grandmothers (Nookimisuk) Who Practice the Sacred Arts Have to Say - The Grandmothers Empowerment Alliance will share their findings from gatherings during the 2008-2010 period in which they revived collective mechanisms for healing collective traumas from colonization.

3:00-4:30, 4 July - Aboriginal Women Reclaiming Our Power - Through storytelling, hands-on activities, demonstrative learning and testimonials, participants will gain insight into the challenges and solutions of addressing violence against Aboriginal women in Canada from representatives of Ka Ni Kanichihk. Presenters: Shannon Cormier, Sylvia Boudreau, Thelma Morrisseau, Velma Orvis, Delores Chief-Abigosis, Vanessa Tait, Cherie Burns

5:00-6:30pm, 4 July - Two Stories From the Frontlines: Justice For Missing and Murdered - presented by Bridget Tolley, Algonquin grandmother and activist, and Kristen Gilchrist, young academic and community volunteer.

1:00-2:30pm, 5 July - Path to Success: Developing Leadership in Our Aboriginal Communities - the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network shares the grassroots strategy that brought about the development of leadership skills and empowerment of 54 Mi'kmaq women from 26 communities on the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador. Presenteers: Patricia Brockway, Michelle Matthews, Odelle Pike, Bonnie Rotchford

3:00-4:30pm, 5 July - Metis Women's Traditional Knowledge Systems for Reproduction, Birthing, and Motherhood - Jennifer Leason will present the journey of compiling and restoring the oral traditions, teachings and ceremonies of reproduction, family planning, birthing, and motherhood as a way to revitalize Metis traditional practices and values.

3:00-4:30pm, 6 July - Importance of the Seal for Inuit Women - Through an interactive sessionm three generations of Inuit women will share their stories about their relationships with seals and how the loss of the industry has impacted families, communities, and Elders. Presenters: Leslie Qammanit, Jeannie Evalik, Annie Atighioyak

11:00-12:30pm, 7 July - Indigenous Women's Teachings -- insight into ancient and sacred knowledge of Aboriginal women's ways. Presented by Isabelle Meawasige, Grandmother's Lodge, Canada

A complete list of Aboriginal programming is available upon request.

Media is invited to attend all of the thematic and arts/culture programming. Support is also available for media coverage from off-site and abroad.

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Caitlin Kealey
(011 1) 613 818 7956