Vancouver groups make submissions at closing of MMIWG Inquiry
The first round of closing hearings in the controversial inquiry began Nov. 26
Reported by Kelsea Franzke
Unreliable and incomplete data suggesting that 3,000 Indigenous women and girls have gone missing and been murdered across Canada is a gross underestimation, according to one advocate.
Chief Kupki7 Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Band said the lives of women and girls have been ignored for decades and the time for talking and apologies is over.
In her closing submissions at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on Nov. 26, Wilson said that there’s been a demand for years for action from the government and police to properly investigate the murders and disappearances.
“It is clear to me that the murders of Indigenous women and girls are not treated with respect and urgency,” said Wilson, a representative of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “White girls and women don’t have to worry about their safety like Indigenous women and girls have to in Canada.”
Four days of closing submissions focusing on human rights, government services, racism and policing are being presented to the Commissioners in Calgary. The hearings, which mark the beginning of the end of the Inquiry, run from Nov. 26 – 30.
Hearings live streamed in the Downtown Eastside
In Vancouver the Saa’ust Centre, a community space that acts as a safe space for survivors and families, is live-streaming the submissions throughout the week.
Eric Anderson, office manager at the Saa’ust Centre, says that it is important to educate people on the issues that Indigenous people are facing across the nation.
“For non-Indigenous people, a lot are completely unaware of the issue, and you can notice it in the media. There are women and girls, as well as young boys and men, who are going missing all the time, but it’s never covered by the media as heavily as it should be,” Anderson said.
“I think non-Indigenous people need to step up to the plate in scaling back on racism and educating people on racism, because that’s the root cause.”
Several Vancouver-based groups to appear
Mikenze Jordan will be representing the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network presenting submissions on Nov. 29. She wants the government to know that their actions and policies are harming women.
“I want to let the state know that colonialism and patriarchy are, in a literal sense and in many subtle ways, killing Indigenous women. It needs to stop,” Jordan said. “I know that we have many Indigenous women warriors who are listening out there, and I hope that they continue to fight and use their voices.”
A number of Vancouver-based organizations will be presenting their final submissions over the next few days including the Vancouver Sex Workers Rights Collective, West Coast LEAF, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Aboriginal Women’s Action Network and the First Nations Health Council.