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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/writers-read-for-dawn-walker-drop-all-the-charges-now-may-10-8-pm-est-tickets-618257754587
While admission is free, we urgently request you make a donation to Dawn's legal defence fund at https://gofund.me/0a503c39
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: https://www.change.org/p/free-wrongfully-jailed-indigenous-writer-domestic-violence-survivor-dawn-dumont-walker
To contribute to Dawn's legal defence, please donate to the Go Fund Me created by Idle No More found here: https://gofund.me/0a503c39
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 (https://gofund.me/0a503c39 ) 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.