OTTAWA – The national roundtable today brought together more than 150 delegates including First Nations Chiefs, Premiers, federal and provincial ministers and representatives from First Nations organizations. Each invited organization, province and territory was allowed to bring 10 participants and were encouraged to make family members part of their delegation.
National Gathering Continues Efforts for National Inquiry
A Chiefs of Ontario contingent made up of leaders and families participated in the national roundtable on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Ottawa today. Despite the federal government’s lack of action, First Nation leaders continue to demand the Government of Canada establish an independent public commission of inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
“We support a national Inquiry because we believe this process will assist the families in their healing process and provide them a sense of justice,” said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy. ““As directed by the Chiefs-in-Assembly, we need to take greater responsibility for our own people. Our own Gathering assisted us in the planning and preparation to implement our own process and informed our own leadership’s advocacy for a national inquiry.”
Chiefs of Ontario hosted a two-day Gathering in Thunder Bay in early February where families who have been impacted by the issue shared their stories in order to begin the development of the scope and process for an inquiry led by Ontario First Nations.
The families provided advice and input to First Nations leadership and the First Nations Women’s Caucus as to what the mandate, objectives, process and budget should be for an inquiry.
Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians joined the delegation from the Assembly of First Nations in her role as Chair of the Ontario First Nations Women’s Caucus.
“I’m pleased to be here today to start a national dialogue,” said Deputy Grand Chief Stonefish. “The loss of 1,200 women needs a more substantial response than dialogue. We need solutions and we need a commitment to take action from the federal government. And while we fully support the solutions that were put forth today and are generally supportive of the Roundtable process, our people continue to ask Canada: ‘How many more Indigenous women and girls will be lost before Canada takes this issue seriously?”