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OTTAWA — The federal government is signing a new accord with the Native Women’s Association of Canada to ensure the organization can fully participate in efforts to improve Indigenous health, housing and education.

Francyne Joe, president of the association, says the accord will ensure the voices of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people will be heard by policy-makers developing programs, services and laws.

She says that for too long the voices of Indigenous matriarchs, knowledge-keepers and water-carriers have been left out of discussions directly affecting their communities and nations.

Joe says the accord, which is being signed today, is an important step towards reconciliation and healing.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says she believes policies are only good if the people affected by them are involved in setting them.

Bennett says that’s why it’s important that Indigenous women will be part of policy-making.

The Canadian Press

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