NAN Seeks Sioux Lookout to Support Murdered and Missing Women

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NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
Nishnawbe-Aski Nation NANTHUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is urging Sioux Lookout municipal council to reconsider its position after defeating a motion calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. “We are very disappointed that council is not supporting the growing call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and we urge them to reconsider their position,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Fiddler, who holds the women’s directorate portfolio. “It appears that some members of council are dismissive of this national tragedy, and it is disheartening that a municipality with such close ties to First Nations fails to see the need for full accountability into these tragic and unexplained disappearances.”

A resolution introduced on November 19 states that two missing women from neighboring First Nations were last seen in Sioux Lookout and that Aboriginal women living in and visiting the community are at heightened vulnerability to be victims of crime. The resolution was to be circulated to all municipalities in the Kenora District with a request for support.

One councillor was quoted by local media as saying that while one missing or murdered woman of any race is too many he is against an inquiry that would be “nothing more than a multi-million dollar distraction” and “won’t tell us anything new that we don’t already know.” Other councillors expressed concern for violence against Aboriginal women, but the motion was defeated.

“First Nations have worked hard to foster good relations and partnerships with the municipality of Sioux Lookout and it would be very unfortunate if council’s lack of support threatened this relationship,” said Fiddler. “This sends a message that the unexplained loss of these women is not worthy of a full investigation and could threaten to undo years of effort to build positive relationships.”

First Nations and municipalities across the country have supported the call for a national inquiry. Thunder Bay city council passed a resolution unanimously in August supporting an inquiry and premiers from across the country have also supported the call. A recent Angus Reid survey found that nearly three-quarters of Canadians are in favour of an inquiry.

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