Indigenous Women: Human Rights Protections and Activism
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Indigenous Women: Human Rights Protections and Activism

Indigenous Women: Human Rights Protections and Activism

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Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

1 Lafayette Square

Buffalo, NY 14203

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The University at Buffalo School of Social Work, in collaboration with our Native, academic, and community partners, is excited to offer our second annual spring symposium.

Two very current topics will be explored during the day-long symposium: The first is human rights activism around the hundreds of murdered and missing Indigenous women from First Nations in Canada, also known as the Stolen Sisters. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada recently established a new federal commission to investigate this epidemic. We have hopes that it may result in productive federal action and accountability.

We are honored to have as our keynote speaker, Beverly Jacobs, Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River. She is an activist, an attorney, and the former head of the Native Women's Association of Canada. She was the primary researcher for the 2004 Amnesty International report, "Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada."

(In the artwork above, the robe of the woman is comprised of photos of hundreds of the Stolen Sisters.)

The second topic is how Indigenous Peoples use of technology has enlarged the ways in which activists communicate and build online (and off-line) community. We will have examples of "Technology-assisted Activism" (as seen most recently with the #NoDAPL campaign and the Standing Rock Nation protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline) and lessons learned from these activists’ use of social media and other digital technology to grow support and develop new activists. Our speakers are Jaynie Parrish, Navaho Nation member, Instructor with the University of North Dakota American Indian Studies, and a social media consultant; and Melanie Sage, Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of North Dakota, who has published on the ethical use of social media for social workers.

The afternoon session will also feature panels on Activism by Indigenous Youth, the Role of Elders, and Coalition Building.

A resource packet (including such information as why the landmark 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples –UNDRIP – is such a landmark) and Ways to Take Action will be provided to all attendees.

Throughout the Americas, Indigenous women confront the individuals, groups, and governments who suppress human rights. Social workers, too, play a vital role in promoting and protecting human rights, bearing witness to violations, and addressing the resultant trauma. The profession works in cooperate with Indigenous women to remediate such violations.

This event will be held the day after the School of Social Work’s free film screening on March 29, of the feature-length documentary, “Highway of Tears,” with short films by and about Indigenous women in the Americas. Visit http://bit.ly/2lfrPGs for details.

Questions? Contact us at sw-events@buffalo.edu.

Registrants, Please Note:
-Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. We appreciate your courtesy in letting us know if you CANNOT attend by emailing sw-events@buffalo.edu by March 24, 2017. We will then have an accurate count for the meals.

-WiFi will be available, but there will be NO outlets for recharging devices.

Art: "Still Dancing" by Jonathan Labillois, 2014. Used with the permission of the artist. This work was donated to the Montreal Native Women's Shelter. http://www.jonlabillois.com/

The School of Social Work is dedicated to the generation and transmission of knowledge, critical inquiry into the causes and consequences of social problems, and to the promotion of social justice.


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Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

1 Lafayette Square

Buffalo, NY 14203

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