Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day along with First Nation leaders from across the province acknowledge International Women’s Day today and extend their deepest respect and appreciation to Grandmothers, Mothers, Daughters, Wives, Aunties, Sisters, Nieces and the women activists that work tirelessly to ensure recognition of gender equity and justice in society. “While celebrating the success and contributions of women on International Women’s Day, we are sharply reminded of the pain and suffering of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in our communities,” said Ontario Regional Chief Day. “We extend our prayers and bestow our deepest hopes in the search for Delaine Copenace, a young Anishinabe women from Treaty 3 who went missing last week and Brittany Kira Bomberry from Six Nations a young lady who went missing this week. This needs to stop and our women need to be protected.” Every year, on this day is dedicated by the United Nations as International Women’s Day. It’s a day to honour the unique struggles, strengths, and potential of women around the world, far too many of whom face violence, poverty, environmental destruction, disease, and discrimination on a daily basis. “As First Peoples, we believe that a community cannot be healthy if its women are not supported and loved – strong women lead to strong families, communities, and nations,” said Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI). “We have come a long way in terms of equality and respect over the years, in fact, Ontario now has 38 elected women Chiefs serving. But there are still many hurdles to overcome.” The staggeringly high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women has drawn world attention. A 2015 United Nations report found that young aboriginal women are five times more likely to die under violent circumstances, as compared with their non-Indigenous counterparts. The search for Delaine Copenace, the missing 16-year-old girl in Kenora is entering its second week. A vigil is being organized for Tuesday evening in Thunder Bay, Ont., to support the family of the teenager. On September 9 of 2015, Chiefs of Ontario launched the Who Is She campaign – a fundraising effort aimed at creating a First Nations-led, community-driven process to eradicate violence against Indigenous women and girls. This campaign started through a Chiefs Resolution that stated ‘Every Indigenous woman and girl should feel safe every time of every day in every place in Canada. We are looking to achieve truth and tangible solutions through a First Nations driven process to end violence in our communities.’ “Our responsibility to our women must be clear and focused toward lifting them to the greatest heights of their potential. As men we must also honour ourselves by honouring our women; taking responsibility for healing from domestic violence and violence against women and girls in our First Nations,” said Regional Chief Day. “Men can best serve the important agenda of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by extending full unfettered support and equal space to women in all aspects of the justice process of women, seeking to be there for women as protectors and promoters of their safety and wellbeing.” Regional Chief Day said that a big part of eliminating the issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, is focusing on ending violence through justice interventions and men’s wellness programs. To mark this day, Regional Chief Day is committing the next year toward First Nations men’s wellness issues in an effort to strengthen the supports for First Nation women. The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.