To address recent allegations against the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), we write this open letter to provide clarity, to ensure our voices are heard and to share our truths. We find that the reoccurring allegations against NWAC and its senior management unfounded, offensive and defamatory.
This is the second time the treatment of our staff is being questioned and is why we are coming forward publicly. Due to legal obligations and our ethics, we will not disclose personal information on any current or past employees to respect their privacy.
Any organization who works on Indigenous issues knows these matters are difficult, overwhelming and stressful. Due to the nature of our work, it is our duty to ensure we go above regular employer obligations to maintain a safe and secure workplace for the well-being of our staff.
At NWAC in particular, we work on emotional and disturbing topics including missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, forced and coerced sterilization, human trafficking and ongoing sex discrimination in the very laws that govern this country.
NWAC is very sensitive to the fact that the nature of our work exposes staff to content which can be emotionally tolling, cause stress, or trigger personal ties or lived experiences. Our staff are dedicated to advocating against the difficult issues Indigenous women face daily. It is our priority to ensure the well-being and safety of our staff, especially since they work on such upsetting content.
NWAC takes a culturally appropriate and trauma informed approach to all of our work, operations and human resources. To ensure we provide exceptional support to our employees, we have three full-time professional HR staff and on-site Elder support for approximately 60 staff. In order to appropriately address human resource issues, the on-site Elder also provides guidance and direction on internal matters.
We also infuse culture into our workplace. This includes Elder-led ceremonies, open and closing prayers at meetings and events, cultural teachings, smudging, beading, drumming and encourage staff to share their culture with co-workers.
NWAC wants to clarify questions regarding financial spending. We are completely transparent in all financial matters. Our audited financial statements are posted on our website for annual review. NWAC strictly complies to all contribution agreements and all spending is authorized by funders. Finally, any and all allegations against Lynne Groulx are unfounded. The continuous accusations are defamatory.
NWAC advocates, defends and supports all First Nations, status and non-status, Métis, Inuit and disenfranchised women, girls and gender-diverse people both externally and internally. We are committed to improving the lives and well-being of all Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people. We hope this puts an end to these false allegations.