TORONTO (GNB) – Service New Brunswick Minister Ed Doherty, who is also minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, joined female First Nations leaders from New Brunswick to attend the fifth National Indigenous Women’s Summit this week in Toronto.

“This summit brings together more than 300 delegates from across Canada, including federal, provincial and territorial ministers; First Nation, Métis and Inuit women; youth, elders and grassroots community representatives to discuss important issues related to empowering indigenous women,” Doherty said. “I am very proud to be a part of the national conversation around improving quality of life for First Nations women and their families.”

The delegates took part in panel discussions, keynote sessions and workshops to identify priority items and develop recommendations to address issues affecting the lives of indigenous women, including poverty and violence; reproductive justice; food security; safe and affordable housing; access to education and employment opportunities; calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report; and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

First Nations delegates from New Brunswick included officials from the Indigenous Women’s Association of the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Territory Inc.; members of the New Brunswick Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women and the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council; and members of the Tobique and Oromocto First Nations.

The three-day summit was hosted by Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Ontario Women’s Directorate, and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

It was organized by a national steering committee which included representatives from the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Women of the Métis First Nation, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Assembly of First Nations, Pauktuutit, Inuit Tapiriit, Kanatami and Ontario provincial Indigenous organizations.