Area leaders respond to National Inquiry into MMIWG Final Report
Tim Brody - Editor
Area leaders have responded to the release of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Final Report earlier this month in Gatineau, Quebec.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Walter Naveau issued the following statement: “On behalf of Nishnawbe Aski Nation I acknowledge all women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people who have gone missing or have been murdered, and our hearts are with the families, survivors and communities. This report validates the tragic experiences our community members have endured for years. The National Inquiry has exposed root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls. We accept its conclusion that colonial structures, polices and inequities are persistent in Canada and amounts to genocide. I acknowledge the Prime Minister’s commitment to develop a National Action Plan to address this violence and we look forward to developing a plan of action with the full inclusion of our communities.”
NAN and Grand Council Treaty #3 made a joint submission to the Inquiry highlighting 122 considerations. NAN shared in a news release, “While important, the “All Governments” Calls for Justice to be implemented by federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous governments do not follow the NAN/Grand Council Treaty #3 recommendation for a “meaningful approach to implementation”, which should include:
1. clear identification of the institution or department responsible for implementing the recommendation;
2. measurable benchmarks for progress;
3. reasonable timeframes for reporting progress; and
4. an independent monitoring with real consequences for failure to implement.
“NAN has initiated work on many of the issues reflected in the report, including: implementing Jordan’s Principle, legislating the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, developing a NAN Housing Strategy, designing a process to transform health and educational systems by asserting inherent jurisdiction, participating in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case against Canada on Indigenous child welfare, and the reclamation of culture through language and education.
“NAN looks forward to the government’s commitment to implement the recommendations through sustained funding.”
Kenora MP Bob Nault issued the following statement regarding the end of the MMIWG inquiry and the submission of the final report to the federal government.
“Canada has a colonial past which we cannot forget, but the sad reality is that we still see systemic racism on a daily basis. We must do better to end the cycle of violence and ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed, thrive, and live a full life.
“We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the survivors and family members who shared their heart-aching stories with the Commission. As a government, along with other levels of government, and in partnership with First Nations, Metis, and the Inuit, we will develop a National Action Plan, which will work to implement the inquiry’s recommendations.
“Our job now as Parliamentarians, and the job of other government leaders, is to work together on National Action Plan to honour the lives and legacies of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals. These horrifying tragedies cannot continue, and it must come to an end.”
Sol Mamakwa, Kiiwetinoong MPP and Ontario NDP critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Suze Morrison, Ontario NDP critic for Women’s Issues, made the following statement after the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls Commission (MMIWG).
“This morning the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls presented their final report. We would like to thank and honour the thousands of people who came forward to share their truth telling stories with the commission.
“It was not easy for them to speak about their sisters, mothers and friends who were murdered, or who disappeared and never came home. We thank you all for your advocacy.
“What was heard over and over again is that Indigenous women and girls have been subject to colonial violence for generations. The policies of colonization and genocide that were imposed on our people are treated as normal.
“Over and over again, families and survivors shared their stories of great pain and suffering.
“Families turned to the system for help in achieving justice for their relatives. And there was no help.
“We ask everyone to hear the calls to justice and honour them.
“We call on our colleagues, and all Ontarians to speak out against racism, misogyny and hold yourselves to account. Learn about the true history of Canada and Ontario.
“It’s not enough to accept the report from the inquiry and say you will listen. Indigenous people expect action and real systemic change.
“We call on Doug Ford to take the inquiry’s calls to action for all governments, seriously. Ford should adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in this province. He should provide funding for prevention programs to counter violence against Indigenous women and girls, and recognize Indigenous languages by reinstating the Indigenous Culture Fund which provided cultural development, including language education.
“And finally, Ford should allow all Ontarians to learn about Indigenous history, and the true history of Canada, by having an Indigenous curriculum as part of core studies in Ontario schools.
“We must work on these steps together. Real healing can only happen together.”
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called for “transformative change to eradicate violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA”.
“The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The two volume report, presented today (June 3) to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Closing Ceremony at the Canadian Museum of History, calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.
“Entitled Reclaiming Power and Place, the National Inquiry’s Final Report is comprised of the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers shared over two years of cross-country public hearings and evidence gathering. It delivers 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians,” the National Inquiry’s news release stated.
“Despite their different circumstances and backgrounds, all of the missing and murdered are connected by economic, social and political marginalization, racism, and misogyny woven into the fabric of Canadian society,” explained Chief Commissioner Marion Buller. “The hard truth is that we live in a country whose laws and institutions perpetuate violations of fundamental rights, amounting to a genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”
“To put an end to this tragedy, the rightful power and place of women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people must be reinstated, which requires dismantling the structures of colonialism within Canadian society,” said Commissioner Michèle Audette. “This is not just a job for governments and politicians. It is incumbent on all Canadians to hold our leaders to account.”
“The National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice, presented as legal imperatives rather than optional recommendations, outline transformative actions in the areas of health, security, justice and culture including: • Establishing a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson and a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal • Developing and implementing a National Action Plan to ensure equitable access to employment, housing, education, safety, and health care • Providing long-term funding for education programs and awareness campaigns related to violence prevention and combatting lateral violence • Prohibiting the apprehension of children on the basis of poverty and cultural bias”
“The powerful historic record created through the National Inquiry would not have been possible if not for the immeasurable courage and strength of the families and survivors who came forward to share their sacred truths,” said Commissioner Brian Eyolfson. “For too long, Canada failed to listen to their stories of loss, anguish and injustice. As we build a new way forward, their voices must continue to guide us.”
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls can be found at: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/.