NWAC Seeks Greater Efforts for MMIWG National Inquiry

Participants at ONWA's First Annual Pow Wow dance in honour of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women
Participants at ONWA's First Annual Pow Wow dance in honour of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women

OTTAWA – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has released their official Report Card on the activities of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (Inquiry).  Drafted to reflect the success of the Inquiry in meeting its directives and mandates as it progresses, NWAC is employing this tool to provide the public with a comprehensive update and in an effort to participate in and actively impact the operations of the inquiry going forward.

“Families and loved ones of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) were discouraged by the lack of communication from the Inquiry following its official date of establishment on September 1st, 2016.  They deserved to have some communication about how and when they could expect to provide their testimonies,” began NWAC President Francyne D. Joe.  “NWAC wants to have a more active voice in constructing strategies that will protect participants at every step of this journey.  It is essential that the Inquiry be sensitive to the trauma experienced by those being interviewed, that those participants feel welcomed as allies, and that the MMIWG are honoured. Having worked with families and survivors, NWAC has experience and knowledge in this area. We recommend working directly with families in shaping how they will be meaningfully engaged in this process.”

The NWAC President commented further about the Report Card, which is to be released quarterly.  “We’ve been very vocal in our concerns regarding the lack of specific guidelines in the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Inquiry.  The report card gives us a an opportunity to outline the ways in which the Inquiry is successfully implementing their broader ToRs in the areas we’ve found to be potentially problematic.  These include the identification of and actions to remove systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls at a national and provincial level as well as the ability of participants to pursue or reopen individual cases through the justice system.”

“NWAC encourages the Inquiry to be as transparent as possible and to provide families with the resources necessary to access the Commission.  The intent of this Inquiry is not only to bring some semblance of peace to those close to the MMIWG but also to make every Canadian feel like they are taking part in reconciliation,” Joe concluded. “It is our report’s intent to make it accessible to everyone.”

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