Rhonda Lee McIsaac —
“With the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Interim Report, we are able to reflect on what we have learned after months of research and the living experience of establishing an Inquiry of this magnitude,” Chief Commissioner, Marion Buller, says about the lessons the NI-MMIWG has learned.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released the interim report, Our Indigenous Women and Girls are Sacred, in early November. The 10 recommendations and calls to action build on past recommendations.
“Our women, girls, and two-spirited people and their families continue to suffer from violence today and we know that they are re-traumatized as they tell their stories to us. That is why this interim report calls for the immediate increased support both financially and for counselling services for families and survivors. The need is much greater than the Inquiry can serve in an on-going manner,” Buller writes.
The National Inquiry continues to meet and the current session is on Treaty Six Territory in Edmonton, Alberta on November 7,8, 9, 2016 and will be broadcast live on from 8:30 am to 4:45 pm from the Edmonton Inn and Conference Centre.
Chief Commissioner, Marion Buller, and Commissioners Brian Eyolfson and Qajaq Robinson will hear from approximately 45 witnesses during the public and private hearings, sharing circle testimonies, and artistic expression panels.
CALL FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION
The National Inquiry calls for immediate action for:
- Implementation of all Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, particularly those that impact Indigenous women and children, including the immediate implementation of Jordan’s Principle and the immediate and full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation, and including a federal action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of UNDRIP;
- Full compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling (2016) that found that Canada was racially discriminating against First Nations children.
NATIONAL INQUIRY PROCEDURAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Along with the endorsement of existing recommendations that can immediately address systemic violence and its underlying causes, the National Inquiry recommends the following:
- That the federal government finds a way to provide the contact information of the families and survivors who participated in the pre-Inquiry process to the National Inquiry. Alternatively, that the federal government provide families and survivors who participated in the pre-Inquiry process information on how to participate in the National Inquiry.
- That federal, provincial, and territorial governments provide project funding, in addition to regular operational funds, to help ensure Indigenous organizations’ full and meaningful participation in the National Inquiry.
- That the federal government establish a commemoration fund in collaboration with national and regional Indigenous organizations (including Indigenous women’s organizations) and in partnership with family coalitions, Indigenous artists, and grassroots advocates who have spearheaded commemoration events and initiatives related to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people.
- That the federal government immediately provide additional funding to Health Canada’s Resolution Health Support Program and expand its services to meet the increased needs flowing from the National Inquiry’s work, and at a minimum for the duration of the National Inquiry.
- That Health Canada’s Resolution Health Support Program provide funding to Indigenous organizations and other service providers (including provincial and territorial governments) through contribution agreements and transfer funds to provide the necessary health supports to families and survivors participating in the National Inquiry’s Truth-Gathering Process and engaging in its commemoration activities.
- That the federal government undertake an engagement process with families, survivors, Indigenous organizations, and the National Inquiry to investigate the feasibility of restoring the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
- That the federal government work collaboratively with provinces and territories to create a national police task force to which the National Inquiry could refer families and survivors to assess or reopen cases or review investigations.
- Given the short timeframe of the National Inquiry and the urgency of establishing robust administrative structures and processes, that the federal government provide alternatives and options to its administrative rules to enable the National Inquiry to fulfill the terms of its mandate.