Saturday, May 6, 2023

Writers Read for Dawn Walker: Drop all the Charges NOW! May 10, 8 pm EST


On May 10 at 8 pm EST, join us for a beautiful online evening of amazing writers reading in support of award-winning Okanese First Nation writer and activist Dawn Walker, who faces decades in prison if convicted of a massive pile of charges thrown against her for trying to save herself and her child. Dawn needs to be freed and charges dropped.

Register at

While admission is free, we urgently request you make a donation to Dawn's legal defence fund at

Her situation reflects a systematic failure to support her when she was most in need. Dawn has not failed anyone; the system has failed her as it does so often with Indigenous women, women of colour and LGBTQIA2S+.

"I left Saskatoon because I feared for my safety and that of my son...[I was] failed by the Saskatchewan Justice system, the family law system and child protection," Dawn wrote last summer. "The police services did nothing to assist me. I reported my concerns to the child protection authorities and again nothing was done. I am fighting systems that continuously fail to protect me as an Indigenous woman and protect non-Indigenous men.”

And yet today Dawn Walker is subjected to strict house arrest with degrading, dehumanizing electronic monitoring, facing major criminal charges, for the alleged crime of trying to survive, to protect her child, as any loving and caring parent would do.

If you agree that we need to stop criminalizing survivors like Dawn, and that a serious overhaul is needed for a family law system that all too often brushes aside – even disappears – the very clear evidence of male violence against women and kids, please join us for this evening to learn more about how you can support Dawn.

In the meantime, please sign and share this petition:


To contribute to Dawn's legal defence, please donate to the Go Fund Me created by Idle No More found here:

We are potentially near a major legal victory not only for Dawn, but for all mothers and survivors of male violence against women and kids. Dawn needs your help now more than ever. Her ongoing legal action, generously supported by you ( ) could actually help change the legal system. Dawn’s legal team is effectively asking that all charges be stayed outlining what they note is systemic discrimination experienced by Dawn in her attempts to report alleged assaults by a former partner, and possible Charter and human rights violations while in police custody. Her lawyers are requesting records from the province, the Saskatoon Police Service, and the RCMP regarding her treatment while in custody and records relating to the police’s investigations of two “complaints of sexual assault by her white ex-partner and the father of her child.”


Kelley Jo Burke (playwright, director, actor, editor, a creative nonfiction writer and documentarian, radio producer and broadcaster): "I have known Dawn Dumont Walker for nearly twenty years and to know her is to love and admire her. She is brilliant and funny and fierce – and her current situation is unbelievably unjust and a disgrace (while absolutely no surprise to anyone familiar with the baked-in racism and misogyny of our justice system). I believe the charges should be thrown out and Dawn reunited with her child. I believe in Dawn and stand by her.”

Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer (National Parliamentary Library Poet Laureate, Plains Cree knowledge keeper): “My late mother was a subjected to domestic violence all her life. My siblings and I witnessed it repeatedly. For all there was no place to hide, no place to run to. I as a pre-teen reported it to the police I was not believed. My heart goes to all who have been subjected to violence some of whom did not survive. Dawn is a beautiful accomplished young woman and I value her and all her contributions. We totally need to support the voiceless.”

Alicia Elliott (Mohawk writer and editor, winner of RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award): "Any system that punishes a mother trying to protect her child is a system that is deeply broken. That punishment is even worse for Indigenous mothers. I stand in solidarity with Dawn and her family, as well as all women hoping to make a better life for themselves and their children. We should offer them compassion, not criminalization."

Kim Fahner (Writer, teacher, Poet Laureate of Grater Sudbury): "I believe it's crucial that we, as members of the writing community across Canada, stand together in support of Dawn Walker. While I don't know Dawn personally, I have admired her writing for quite some time now. I also know that women and children who are victims of abuse--especially Indigenous women in Canada--have only been further victimized by the legal system. No woman should be persecuted for trying to protect her child from abuse. I hope, by using our voices as writers, we can raise awareness of this issue, and the injustice of Dawn's plight in particular. "

Nathan Whitlock (author of three novels and coordinator for Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing program): “I can’t even begin to speak to what Dawn and so many other women, Indigenous and otherwise, have faced when it comes to institutionalized bigotry and misogyny. But as a fellow parent, writer, and human being, I stand with her in her struggle to protect her family and herself.”

Elizabeth Renzetti (journalist and bestselling author who writes on issues of gender equality.): "As a mother, and as a person who is horrified by the ongoing criminalization and over-incarceration of Indigenous women in this country, I stand in support of Dawn Walker and her fight for justice.

Barbara Gowdy

Monday, April 24, 2023

40 for 30: Support the Fund to Help Wrongfully Charged Indigenous Writer Dawn Walker See Her Child


40 for 30: Support the Fund to Help Wrongfully Charged Indigenous Writer Dawn Walker See Her Child

Every year, thousands of Indigenous children are separated from their parents, their communities and their culture by the child welfare system that, as CTV reports, "in many ways, continues the cycle of colonial violence."

One of those kids is the child of wrongfully charged, award-winning Okanese First Nations writer Dawn Walker, who faces decades in prison for the alleged “crime” of trying to protect her child from abuse. According to court filings, Dawn “fled Saskatchewan due to her honest belief that her child faced grievous imminent harm. Their flight to the United States was Ms. Walker’s final, most desperate attempt in a long series of fruitless bids to seek protection from the authorities from her ex-partner’s ongoing sexual abuse and harm.” 

For the act of trying to save her child, the colonial government of Saskatchewan has forcibly separated Dawn from her child, and will only allow occasional “supervised” visits that cost Dawn $1,200 a month. This is how the colonial system treats an Indigenous mother who is, by the system’s own rules, presumed innocent. Dawn had put forward to the court three highly respected Indigenous individuals and organizations who would provide the "supervision" for free, but all were rejected,

It is preposterous in the so-called Truth and Reconciliation era – where politicians continually spout "never again” platitudes – that Dawn’s ability to share time with and nurture her child is dependent on her ability to pay for colonial child supervision services.

As Dawn endures the lengthy wait to contest the bogus colonial charges, she needs our support to pay for those supervised visits and maintain an essential connection with her child. 

Women Who Choose to Live is organizing “40 for 30,” seeking 40 people who will publicly, proudly commit to send $30 a month (less than the price of a daily coffee) to meet those costs. We are asking that folks commit to six months of support. 

To join the 40 for 30 campaign, contact Women Who Choose to Live at

""We are supervised for every second of every visit but we do a good job of playing games, eating snacks and cuddling even under this scrutiny," Dawn writes. "At the end of the visit, my child always stops before letting himself be escorted away - he will step back in the doorway to look up at my face to make sure that I'm not crying. As little as he is, he is trying to look after me. I have trained myself to only cry after I hear his footsteps down the hall.” – Dawn Walker

“First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples know the trauma of unnecessary removals of children away from their parents by the State. Every separation is traumatic and that trauma deepens as time away increases often resulting in life long and multi-generational harms,” says Cindy Blackstock
Hear what 40 for 30 Contributors are Saying:


“Half the imprisoned women in Canada are Indigenous….but they are only 5% of the female population. While thousands are missing and murdered, our travesty of a  justice system busies itself throwing vulnerable Indigenous women in jail. Dawn Walker,  an award-winning author, speaker and activist, could get no help from police to protect her and her child; she fled; she is now being punished, out on bail and facing multiple charges. Discrimination against indigenous women is built right into our system; it has to stop. We must help to stop it, with our outrage, our voices, our financial support." – Michele Landsberg, OC, is a Canadian journalist, author, public speaker, feminist and social activist. She is known for writing three bestselling books, including Women and Children First, This is New York, Honey!, and Michele Landsberg's Guide to Children's Books





"I have known Dawn Dumont Walker for nearly twenty years, and to know her is to love and admire her. She is brilliant and funny and fierce – and her current situation is unbelievably unjust, and a disgrace (while absolutely no surprise to anyone familiar with the baked-in racism and misogyny of our justice system). I believe the charges should be thrown out, the matter referred to family court, and Dawn reunited with her child. I believe in Dawn and stand by her." – Kelley Jo Burke, playwright, director, actor, editor, a creative nonfiction writer and documentarian, radio producer and broadcaster.












 "I have the utmost respect for Dawn and her courage! We need to stand with survivors and against their criminalization!" – Audrey Huntley, a paralegal working at Aboriginal Legal Services with survivors of gender-based violence and the co-founder of No More Silence.


"I'm contributing because I believe Dawn is the victim of racially-motivated injustice, as are so many Indigenous people. Although from an individual standpoint this is a small contribution, every bit helps, and I want Dawn to know she is not alone. #IStandWithDawn." – Lauren B. Davis, author of The Empty Room, The Grimoire of Kensington Market, Even So, and others.



















"We call women with their children escaping a war zone by whatever means possible 
Her-oes; why penalize and shame a domestic Her-o?" – Shel Goldstein






















"I remember the day Dawn went missing: my stomach has been in knots ever since worried for her and her child’s safety. Many women are put in the situation of remaining with an abuser to protect their children or face leaving with the violence that follows. Dawns situation is common with no support to help her safely leave so she was left on her own to protect her child. We need to support Dawn regain her full access to her child and avoid punishment for protecting them. Her arrest is wrong, her continued punishment is wrong and separation from her child is torture. I believe Dawn." – Issabel Temple, parent, potter, citizen scientist dedicating her time and energy to the health of the land, water and a sustainable and just future for all living beings.



"Mothers often find themselves between a rock and a hard place when trying to keep their children and themselves safe. And the legal system does not always understand women’s difficult choices, particularly if they are indigenous." – Susan B. Boyd is a feminist legal scholar and Professor Emerita at the University of British Columbia. At UBC, she held the endowed research Chair in Feminist Legal Studies from 1992 to 2015. She was the founding Director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies from 2007 to 2012.


"I donated because we can no longer stand by while our ‘justice’ system continues to criminalize women who are victims of intimate partner violence and punishing them by forced separation them from their children. This is colonial violence. Please join us and take a stand." – Jenny Wright has worked across Canada and in New Zealand for more than 20 years in social justice – with a specific focus on gender equality and justice. A specialist in gender-based violence, she has worked with Indigenous, poor, homeless and sex working communities. Jenny speaks frequently on how the underfunding of women’s anti-violence organizations is a pervasive form of violence against women.



















"Any advocate who stands up for survivors of Violence Against Women must stand against all forms of violence against Indigenous women and their children – including colonial and state-sanctioned violence parading as “child protection”. The genocide of Indigenous Peoples in Canada starts with Indigenous mothers precisely because they are the source of Indigenous life. In Canada, 52% of children in foster care are Indigenous, even though they account for only 7.7% of the child population. This is Canada's greatest SHAME. 


Dawn, although I do not know you personally, I stand with you and your right as a woman and mother to raise your child in peace and freedom from violence. You are a warrior.

Together, we rise." – Marissa Kokkoros, Executive Director of Aura Freedom International, a Toronto-based grassroots women’s organization working to end violence against women and human trafficking in Canada and beyond.

"Indigenous women around the world face more violence just because they are Indigenous women. Any woman trying to escape violence deserves support. Systemic barriers often hinder this support and cause further trauma. I imagine the most precious being in Dawn’s life is her child." – Tanzim Haque, Civil Servant, gender justice, MOM.


"I met Dawn at several literary festivals many years ago and have been a fan of their work ever since. I remember that we spoke about wanting to have children. I was devastated to follow what happened in the news and hope that the literary community in Canada can show support for Dawn's legal case and fight against these unjust charges. No one should be incarcerated for trying to protect their child from abuse, and the over-criminalization of Indigenous people has to stop." – Zoe Whittall is a bestselling novelist, poet, and TV writer on shows like Degrassi, Schitt's Creek and the Baroness Von Sketch Show. Her most recent book is called The Fake



“Joining this campaign feels like a small way that I can fight back against the criminalization of Indigenous women and survivors of gender-based violence by the Canadian legal system." – Jen Danch, lawyer
























"Like so many women, Dawn sought help from the patriarchal, settler-colonial 'justice' system to protect herself and her child, but this system failed her. Living in so-called Australia, it is clear to me that there are many parallels between the ordeal imposed on Dawn and the violence that Indigenous women in my own country are subjected to. I believe Dawn and stand in solidarity with her and with Indigenous women throughout the world." – Catherine Weiss, feminist academic and activist.



I am a Life Cycle Celebrant and ordained Minister. I celebrate life’s milestones with the understanding that we are all profoundly connected in this world. And so, when one of my sisters is being mistreated it affects me and the world deeply. I am a mother and one of the worst things for me to imagine is to have access to any of my children denied. The crimes visited upon women, especially Indigenous women is a long-standing problem and crime and a huge embarrassment to Canada. We must do better. By helping Dawn fight her case and by helping to ensure she can see her child is a start in the right direction. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this. Miigwetch. " – Rev Rachel Edwards 

"The system failed Dawn and has failed thousands of indigenous women. In addition to Rachel’s comments, I’m supporting Dawn because it is unacceptable that her literary voice be silenced by the state. We as settlers are the guests of the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. As such, it is appalling that two settler states can draw and enforce an arbitrary border across indigenous people’s territory, and can determine what settler documents are acceptable, when even the founding documents of both settler states explicitly permit free indigenous travel across the border. It is unacceptable to live in a society where a mother can be charged to see or speak to her own child." – David Cox

"We know that colonialism is racist and wrong, that patriarchy is violent and dehumanizing. We ask ourselves, 'what can I do?'. Here's a moment when a small contribution means a lot, both for one woman and her child, and for the principles of freedom and self-determination for Indigenous women. To affirm and uplift Dawn Walker's spirit of resistance, join the 40 for 30 support fund. We are all stronger together! - Kristin Schwartz is a community worker, writer and radio producer in Toronto.

Judy Haiven is a co-founder of Equity Watch, a NS based organisation that fights against discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace. 


"As an immigrant who entered this country with privileges that others here far longer still don't experience, I feel a moral obligation to do what I can in a practical way to support others in their struggles with systems of injustice.  That is especially true regarding Indigenous people whose families have been here from time immemorial but who are victimized by the exact systems that grant me so much privilege.  Dawn Walker and her child need help because of this injustice.  I'm grateful that I can contribute in some small way. – David Mivasair, a rabbi and activist living in Hamilton in the territory covered by the Dish-With-One-Spoon Treaty.