Hamilton fundraiser for Indigenous women’s charity created, in response to Freedom Convoy


Published January 28, 2022 at 8:00 pm

A director at a Hamilton non-profit started a fundraiser on Friday for a charity that supports Indigenous women and families, as a response to the Freedom Convoy that has heavy coverage over several news cycles.

Robyn Knickle, the director of development at the Neighbour 2 Neighbour Centre in Hammilton, wrote in a social media post that seeing the tally for the trucker convoy climb past $6 million (much of which has originated from outside of Canada), caused her to wonder why there was no similar groundswell of support for Indigenous communities. Within six hours, the GoFundMe campaign she created to support the charitable foundation linked to the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) had raised $700, toward a modest goal of $5,000.

“I’ve been feeling helpless while watching the trucker convoy fundraising climb past $6 million, and wondering why we as a country aren’t rallying like this for crucial, basic needs like clean water, food security and everyday safety for Indigenous communities,” Knickle wrote on the GoFundMe page (link below).

“Instead of waiting for someone else to do it, I’m raising money to benefit Ontario Native Women’s Charitable Foundation. I’ve chatted with the wonderful folks there, and any donation will certainly help make an impact.”

Coincidentally, the fundraiser came in the wake of news that a nine-day-old boil-water advisory had been lifted in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in Canada’s far north. There are 36 long-term drinking water advisories in 29 communities within Canada, according to federal statistics.

The ONWA, which has a chapter in Hamilton located at 1900 King St. E., was founded in 1971. The not-for-profit organization strives to support Indigenous women and their families in the province of Ontario through research, advocacy, policy development and programs that focus on local, regional and provincial activities. Examples of their work in Hamilton includes education resource development for parents, while also connecting people with resources for aboriginal diabetes education, aboriginal responsible gambling awareness, and breaking free from family violence. The ONWA also participates in the Gladue Letters project, which is intended to reduce the over-incarceration and over-representation of Indigenous women in prisons.

Further information about the programs ONWA are available at onwa.ca. Knickle’s GoFundMe page had 13 donations as of early on Friday evening.

Hamilton, which has is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas, has an Indigenous population of about 17,000 people. Another way to offer financial support is through the Hamilton-Wentworth Chapter of Native Women, which is registered on Canada Helps.

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