OTTAWA – Following an announcement officially launching the long-awaited independent national public inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government acknowledges Canada’s effort to address this national disgrace.
Although the released terms of reference of the independent inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women are understandably broad, the Grand Council of the Crees/Cree Nation Government, will be watching very closely to see if the work of the Inquiry will include a serious examination and reporting on the impacts of policies and practices of government institutions including, but not limited to policing, child welfare, coroners, and other government policies and practices.
An important omission from the inquiry’s terms of reference is misconduct by police officers towards Indigenous women and girls. Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come, while recognizing the federal inquiry as a positive development, noted the continued need for an provincial independent judicial inquiry into police misconduct towards Indigenous women and girls.
“The Federal Inquiry is a step forward and we recognize the efforts to bring healing, closure, and a sense of security. More importantly, we recognize the courage of the women who have shared their experiences and dared to break the silence. Your courage is commendable and we continue to stand with you.
We will continue to advocate for justice and fair treatment of Indigenous women. We continue to believe that the provincial independent judicial inquiry that we proposed to the Quebec Government after the disturbing events of October 2015 in Val d’Or are not only relevant but essential in regards to the examination of police forces. We must go to the core of the problem and acknowledge that this layer of systemic racism is still alive within police forces.” – Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come
In view of the special circumstances of each province, the Grand Council of the Crees/Cree Nation Government will also be watching very carefully to see how the tragic and intolerable situation exposed in Quebec will be addressed and to what extent Quebec will incorporate Cree recommendations regarding the establishment of a provincial judicial inquiry to investigate the very serious allegations which came to light in October 2015. We will also carefully assess how the work of the Federal Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women will help redress the injustices and wrongs committed against Indigenous women and girls by public security forces charged with the protection of all people, regardless of who they are.