JUNE 3, 2019
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” Bernie Williams, member of the grandmother council caring for Commissioner Michèle Audette. “This is every Canadian’s responsibility not to turn a blind eye.”
Reclaiming Power and Place is the name of the just released Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) report.
While many of the women and girls in this community have become beacons of hope, courage, and change – that such an inquiry was needed is beyond words when we realize that thousands – yes thousands – of women and girls over decades have disappeared or have been murdered.
Now that the final report has been released – pray that there is release for our Indigenous peoples of Canada.
The report cites 231 “calls for justice” after commissioners determined, “these violations amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”
The three-year inquiry produced a 1,200 page report that also states all Canadians have a responsibility to “confront and speak out” against racism, sexism, ignorance, two-spiritedness, and homophobia. Although two-spiritedness is part of some Indigenous cultures, many people testified during the inquiry about being, “forced to leave their traditional territories and communities – sometimes because of the threat of violence… and sometimes in search of acceptance and belonging. But a new life in a big city often brought poverty, homelessness, barriers to education and health care, and even “elevated rates of sexualized violence.”
A stunning finding within the report also states that these women have been subjected to a type of “violence that unfortunately for many Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit and transgender people has become normalized.”
But the limited action taken on this issue has shown the “Canadian public’s apathy toward this crisis.”
The chief commissioner of the report, Marion Buller told CBC News the report is not an easy read and uses, “hard truths like genocide, colonization, murder and rape.”
As for healing within Indigenous communities – the $54-million Inquiry may be completed, but in a Globe and Mail interview, Maggie Cywink – from the Whitefish River First Nation in Northern Ontario whose sister, Sonya Cywink, was found slain near London in 1994 – has been among the most vocal of the critics of the commission.
Cywink told the Globe and Mail, “We have always known the murders and disappearances has been one form of genocide. They have failed to produce anything that is of benefit to us … and that is because they failed to involve grassroots, women incarcerated, sex industry workers, homeless women and youth and allies in their process.”
“Don’t the peace come hard,” ~Buffy Sainte-Marie, The big ones get away.
Context has covered this issue extensively. Here are some links to our programs: