PNG women
Papua New Guinea women protest Barrick Gold "remedy" process

Indigenous Women Speak Out About Mining's Impacts on Women – Ottawa Event

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

Public event

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, April 27, 2017

Where: University of Ottawa, Desmarais Building DMS 1110, 55 Laurier Ave East, Ottawa, Ontario

SPEAKERS: 

  • Jocelyn Wabano Iahtail, Ininew Eeyou Eskwayow from Attawapiskat First Nation, an Holistic Violence Survivor, MMIW advocate and advocate against DeBeers mining in her community's traditional land
  • Two indigenous women from Papua New Guinea who have survived violent attacks related to mining
  • Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada

After years of denying cases of sexual assault, Canadian mining company Barrick Gold compensated 119 women and girls who were victims of sexual violence by mine security in Papua New Guinea to the tune of ~$10,000 each for these abuses, but had them sign an agreement that they could never sue the company. Eleven of the women refused this remedy package and threatened to sue the company, resulting in a higher out of court settlement. Since that time, the 119 women who originally accepted the money from Barrick have organized into women's groups and started to demand more dignified treatment from the company. Many others have never received any compensation at all, as allegations of sexual violence continue. 

Closer to home, the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women has gained national and international attention due to the efforts of native women's organizing and documentation efforts. These grassroots efforts have challenged official reports about the numbers of women who have disappeared, and created support and community for families and survivors of gendered violence.

From gaslighting tactics, to the cultural and legal barriers that prevent women from sharing their stories, we will look at the systemic forces that work to silence victims of abuse. We will also hear from courageous women who have self-organized with other survivors to tell their stories and demand accountability.