Concerned Aboriginal Women Occupation of DIA Office

On July 20, 1981, 50 Indigenous women calling themselves “The Concerned Aboriginal Women” occupied the Department of Indian Affairs office in British Columbia, issuing a statement about the suffering and oppression experienced by “aboriginal people of this land.” Poverty, poor housing, unemployment rates, sterilization, infant mortality, suicide rate, frequent incarceration, alcoholism, loss of traditional rights, poor water and sewage facilities, interference in decision-making authority, child apprehension …… “and the list goes on endlessly”.

Citing their “frustration suffered at the hands of the Department of Indian Affairs and different organizations”, the women’s occupation attempted to negotiate around three demands: “1) a meeting with John Munro in Vancouver, 2) the immediate dismissal of Fred Walchli as Director General of DIA in B.C., 3) and a full and independent public inquiry into the activities of the Department of Indian Affairs.”

Over the next eight days, the number of occupiers grew to over 100 and the action won widespread attention and support from Indigenous and other groups before it was ended when the Vancouver City Police forcibly removed those occupying the offices, charging 53 with public mischief and jailing them overnight.

Concerned Aboriginal Women Occupation of DIA Office Documents

Title Date Region
Concerned Aboriginal Women on Their Occupation 1981 British Columbia
Concerned Aboriginal Women:Telex Messages and Letters in Support of the Occupation 1981 British Columbia
Statement of The Concerned Aboriginal Women 1981 British Columbia

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