The Canadian government issued its final report on missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) on Monday and the executive summary concludes that:
As the evidence demonstrates, human rights and indigenous rights abuses and violations committed and condoned by the Canadian state represent genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people. These abuses and violations have resulted in the denial of safety, security, and human dignity.
For some perspective, the Minnesota state legislature just passed a bill to create a task force simply to collect data on missing and murdered indigenous women. (We’re lagging behind in this critical work.
Canada launched its independent “National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” in September 2016. It’s final report is titled: Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. According to the website’s homepage:
We are exposing hard truths about the devastating impacts of colonization, racism and sexism—aspects of Canadian society that many Canadians are reluctant to accept. Our goal is to offer effective recommendations that will enhance and ensure the safety of our women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals.
The report’s executive summary anticipates the push back from those who would deny genocide happened:
We do know that thousands of indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people have been lost to the Canadian genocide to date. The fact that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples are still here and that the population is growing should not discount the charge of genocide; the resilience and continued growth of these populations don’t discount the many actions detailed within this report, both historical and contemporary, that have contributed to endemic violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
In seeks steps forward for healing the National Inquiry hosted four guided dialogue sessions in the last quarter of 2018. They sought to “identify best practices and solutions to increase safety, improve well-being, and safeguard the rights of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada.”
Participants identified a number of core principals to provide more effective supports for indigenous women and children. They include:
- valuing wellness as wholeness, with a holistic understanding of safety and well-being, caring for mental, emotional, spiritual and physical needs;
- using an interdisciplinary, systemic approach to coordinating services, rather than“silos” or forcing programs to compete against each other for funding;
- understanding the importance of cultural safety, integrating Indigenous values and traditions in social services;
- ongoing, mandatory training to equip front line workers and management with the education necessary to engage with Indigenous communities in culturally safe ways; and
- being able to build long-term, trusting relationships with service providers, including social workers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, with continuity of care.
Click on the links above for more details.