Several prominent Indigenous women from Saskatchewan are throwing their support behind Dawn Walker.

Walker, the chief of staff of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, was arrested in Oregon earlier this month after fleeing to the United States with her 7-year-old son.

Walker faces a felony charge of falsifying a passport from American authorities while Canadian authorities have charged her with child abduction and mischief.

Earlier this week, an American court decided Walker would be returned to Canada. It was also announced prominent lawyer Marie Henein will be representing Walker in the court process.

At a press conference in Saskatoon on Friday morning several Indigenous women spoke in support of Dawn Walker.

The first to speak was Dawn’s sister Kathy Walker who says she is hopeful Dawn will be released from police custody in the coming days.

“Hopefully she will be home with us soon and reunited with her son,” she said while also speaking on her gratitude for all the support Dawn has been receiving. “While I am extremely grateful for today, my heart still goes out to all the other Indigenous women who deserve the support they are not getting.”

(A screenshot of Friday morning’s press conference.)

Advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte says she was troubled that when Dawn Walker first went missing it was assumed she was murdered. She says her advocacy has now changed since Walker was found.

“There are many other avenues to advocate for with women who are in Dawn’s situation,” said Okemaysim-Sicotte raising her concerns. “Has child protection, has the Saskatoon police done their jobs adequately and is Dawn’s son safe.”

When speaking, Saskatchewan’s Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson became passionate about the shared experience of many Indigenous women who face domestic violence.

“We have all not been listened to as survivors of domestic violence,” said Culbertson. “The reality is when women are not listened to and domestic survivors are not listened to you don’t feel you have a choice.”

When previously asked about the domestic violence allegations made by Dawn Walker the Saskatoon Police Service says that matter was thoroughly investigated and no charges were filed.

“The system has failed,” said FSIN Vice-Chief Heather Bear when speaking of the investigation.

Bear then called for an investigation into the SPS handling of Walker’s file as well as “sweeping” change in current systems she feels disproportionately harm Indigenous women.

“This is not just about Dawn, this is about every Indigenous woman in this country.”

The FSIN vice-chief also called on the courts to release Dawn Walker while her matter goes through the legal process.

“She’s not going anywhere,” she said.

Indigenous lawyer Eleanor Sunchild expanded on this call for Walker to be released from remand pointing to the release of Gerald Stanley shortly after the shooting death of Colten Boushie as precedent on the matter.

“I feel Dawn should have the same treatment and should be released on bail,” said Sunchild.

While Walker was officially handed over to Canadian authorities earlier this week, there has not yet been an official date stated for when her first court appearance will be.