Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde | Image Source: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/Associated Press
As first Canadian national organization to bring issue to light, NWAC welcomes long-awaited inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls
(December 8, 2015) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada joins the chorus of voices from coast to coast to coast in celebrating today’s long-awaited announcement from the Government of Canada confirming that a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women is underway.
The Minister for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Status of Women Patty Hajdu, and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould collectively confirmed today that the national inquiry will be launching following a through, respectful consultation process with families directly impacted by these tragedies. Additionally, it is confirmed that expert researchers, grassroots Indigenous organizations and NAOs such as NWAC will all be involved and deeply engaged throughout this process.
NWAC President Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard was present for both Prime Minister Trudeau’s address at the Assembly of First Nations’ Special Chiefs Meeting this morning, as well as the subsequent Ministers’ announcements concerning this matter outside the House of Commons on Parliament Hill.
“As the first Canadian organization to spark the international conversation surrounding the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, NWAC is encouraged today,” says Dr. Lavell-Harvard. “Justice for our stolen sisters is long overdue. We will remain central to this process every step of the way.”
For years, NWAC has called on the Government of Canada to hold this national inquiry – not only for our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers – but for our future generations, to ensure that this systemic, racial and gender-based violence is stopped, and that our children can look to the future with optimism. NWAC is hopeful that this Government will at long last work to acknowledge and validate our needs, and will act transparently, compassionately and collaboratively with us – nation-to-nation.
NWAC respectfully urges the Government to continue to consult our organization, our sister organizations, and those who fully comprehend the Indigenous lived experience and seek to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future of reconciled relations. We have a significant amount of work ahead of us, and we must approach this carefully and strategically.
We look forward to working with this new Government, with our allied organizations and with the families of our sisters in spirit on this critical and historic undertaking. We will continue to embark on this journey together, and we will achieve justice for our sisters.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.