Partner for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange: Native Women’s Association of Canada

Partners include the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, and the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association.


The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has been the nationally recognized voice of Aboriginal women since 1974. NWAC is made up of twelve Aboriginal women's organization called Provincial, Territorial Member Associations (PTMA’s) that are spread across Canada with a collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation and Canadian societies. NWAC works to preserve Aboriginal culture, achieve equality for Aboriginal women, and have a say in the shaping of legislation directly affecting Aboriginal women, their families and communities.

NWAC’s mission is to help empower women by being involved in developing and changing legislation which affects them, and by involving them in the development and delivery of programs promoting equality for Aboriginal women. As a leader both domestically and on the international stage, NWAC works to improve the human rights of Aboriginal women and is dedicated to promoting gender equality issues through research, policy, programs, and practice. Through activism, education, policy analysis and advocacy, NWAC works to advance the well-being of Aboriginal women and girls, as well as, their families and communities.

NWAC has 40 years of experience in advocating for and actively participating in initiatives geared toward improving the health and well-being of Aboriginal women. NWAC has developed strong connections with grass roots women, knowledge holders, and is a mechanism by which Aboriginal women voice their concerns and create lasting change.


The NWAC PEKE will help facilitate a receptive environment for collaboration between IRTs and Research Chairs with Aboriginal women, communities, policy makers and partners for the implementation of the CIHR Pathways Program, while also advancing NWAC’s priorities and objectives in health.

THE NWAC PEKE will help enable learning across research teams and communities - support the translation of research findings into policies, scale-up community interventions, and improve health outcomes among Aboriginal women and their children (families). The NWAC Advisory Committee is an essential element to facilitating community involvement and oversight in the exchange of knowledge, and includes key role of Elders and youth as advisors on Committee.


Aboriginal women represent a disproportionate number, in comparison to non-Aboriginal women, with ill health and chronic disease in Canada. The fact that the majority of Aboriginal women are caregivers in their communities often raising their families single handily and are in most cases subject to poverty and violence is a major concern.


The NWAC PEKE places the unique experiences, challenges and needs of Aboriginal women and their children at the center of its work. Women are the heart of the Aboriginal family and NWAC has longed seen women/mothers as being the true knowledge holders, health care decision-makers and health-care providers for their families throughout the life span. Aboriginal families represent the most powerful forum for preventing, mitigating, healing from and or living with tuberculosis, dental caries, obesity/diabetes, and suicide.

The NWAC PEKE supports the full participation of Aboriginal women and applying a cultural framing that reflects Aboriginal ways of knowing, their histories, and current realities and circumstances. NWAC will apply a CR-GBA to the research framework, methodology and tools, monitoring and evaluation - to integrate a gender perspective to better understand how women and men differ often very significantly in patterns of illness, risk factors, treatments and social contexts that will lead to better health outcomes.

NWAC PEKE supports a community-based participatory research approach that will encourage positive, respectful, mutually beneficial research, as well as, to improve the culture and practice of health research with Aboriginal Peoples.


Assessing the impact of  tuberculosis, dental caries, obesity/diabetes and suicide on the lives of Aboriginal peoples, women in particular, will shed light on the social and economic costs of healthy living for our communities and the governmental bodies responsible for addressing Aboriginal health.

This project will equip families with the knowledge and strategies to improve their immediate surroundings where they live and raise their children, and provide them with avenues and alternatives to the provision of nutritious foods and healthy family role models that will ultimately translate into the healthy adult lifestyles and reduced risks related to all four pillars.

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