OTTAWA – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has unveiled its final report stemming from the MMIWG2S+ National Gathering, which took place in Vancouver from February 14-16, 2023. The event brought together survivors of gender-based violence and families of missing or murdered loved ones.
Titled “Connecting Hearts and Making Change,” the report builds upon the 2021 national report, “Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice: An Action Plan to End Violence Against First Nations Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.” It incorporates feedback collected from families and survivors during regional breakout sessions held at the National Gathering. The report offers suggestions for supporting survivors and families, ensuring the safety of First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, as well as healing individuals and First Nations impacted by this crisis.
The release of the report aligns with the fourth anniversary of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which produced a final report containing 231 Calls for Justice. Despite the passage of four years, little progress has been made, as First Nations women and girls continue to face alarming rates of violence. AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald emphasized the urgent need for action, stating, “Calls for Justice remain unanswered. More action must be taken to protect our women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. This report offers concrete steps that all levels of government can take to offer that protection. No more stolen sisters.”
The final report outlines a families-first and trauma-informed approach to addressing the crisis. It provides recommendations in four key areas: Justice, Human Security, Health and Wellness, and Culture, with specific funding and resource recommendations.
AFN Women’s Council Chair and Ocean Man First Nation Chief Connie Big Eagle expressed gratitude towards the survivors and family members who shared their experiences and suggestions at the gathering. She emphasized the importance of their voices and pledged to continue advocating for justice and the necessary supports to combat this crisis. Together, they will strive to end violence against their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunties.
The development of these reports has been guided by First Nations-In-Assembly. In July 2019, Resolution 67/2019 was adopted, urging the AFN to seek appropriate resources and funding for the AFN Women’s Council to engage with First Nations on a National Action Plan. The goal was to develop a First Nations women-led National Action Plan with input from the regions, First Nations survivors, families, and grassroots family coalitions.