APTN National News
Ten months after the inquiry was announced, the five commissioners in charge of getting to the root of the violence against Indigenous women and girls heard from families in a public setting.
The inquiry took place in Whitehorse from May 30th to June 1st, hearing from family and friends who have lost a loved one.
Many stories emerged at the hearings. Below are experiences shared by the public at the inquiry in Whitehorse.
“We speak today, give a voice to our sister who never had a voice… she didn’t have a voice to say, end the violence'”
Ann Raider’s sister, Tootsie Charlie, was found deceased in the Whitehorse dump.
Ann spoke about what she expects from the inquiry.
“Do not shove those bibles down their throats…”
Dorothy Hayes shared her thoughts on people that come to help in the community.
“I was 34 years old… and I’d finally see what my mother looked like. I was stunned…”
Shaun LaDue shares his experience of learning about his mother, Jane Dick.
“I felt like I was nothing… my mom wasn’t there to hold me or hug me, to give me strength, to give me the encouragement to stand up and fight”
Terry Ladue is Shaun Ladue’s brother, and Jane Dick’s son.
“She didn’t show up… she never showed up at home and we waited…”
Mary Charlie is the sister of Tootsie Charlie, who went missing after last being in police custody.
“One day, the social workers came… and they took us from our mother”
Diane Lilley shares the experience of her and her sisters being taken away.
Tina Washpan (Cindy Burk) was one of those sisters.
“My mom was like the greatest person ever… and everyday I’m crying, ’cause she was taken from me”
There was an interruption to the MMIW Inquiry hearings. A young man entered the room and had something to say. He is the son of Wendy Carlick who was killed last month and his sister Angel Carlick was killed 10 years ago.
Edna Deerrunner wants an apology from the RCMP. More than three decades ago her mother was murdered.
She told the Inquiry that the police didn’t even open a file into her mother’s murder. “It was a fact we were treated terribly,” Deerrunner told the Inquiry. “We’re still being treated terribly.”
Shaun Ladue’s mother, Jane Dick, was beaten to death after he and his siblings were seized in the ‘60s Scoop.
He spoke of the impact that had on his life and his five siblings, but he also talked of what it was like to be a female and hopes all men will respect the lives women.
Joan Jack, a lawyer and sister-in-law of 14 year old Barbara Jack, who was murdered in Whitehorse in the 1970s, has criticized the quasi-judicial format of the inquiry.
She publicly stated the formal process, including the swearing-in of witnesses, was making many participants uncomfortable.
The Jack family testified on the last day of the three day hearing and instead of swearing in, they smudged and wore their Tlingit regalia, which means they were “standing in their truth,” she said.
Throughout the three days of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, one common threat was the violence learned at residential schools, carried on into the lives of survivors.