APTN National News
A coalition of Indigenous families wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday demanding there be a “hard reset” of the MMIWG national inquiry.
They also asked that the remaining commissioners resign.
“It is time for your government to listen to families, communities, and grassroots advocates, and Indigenous leaders and to call for the resignations of the Commissioners and a reset to the Inquiry and to set this work on a path to ending colonial violence,” the families wrote.
The families said a meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett where they expressed concerns that families were being ignored didn’t go well.
“Prime Minister Trudeau, we are asking you today to give us back our Inquiry. We have met with Minister Bennett and she has refused to listen clearly to what families are saying,” the letter states.
“Instead, she has been relying on minor tweaks and small changes to a deeply-flawed process.”
The Trudeau government called the inquiry after taking power in late 2015 that is supposed to address why so many Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or gone missing in the last three decades.
An RCMP review of police files across Canada from 1980 to 2012 found over 1,100 Indigenous women had been murdered or were still missing.
That number has only grown since.
But the inquiry has faced multiple delays and criticism from First Nations leaders, families and advocates over the inquiry’s scope, lack of communication and multiple staff leaving since five commissioners were appointed last summer.
That includes former commissioner Marilyn Poitras who stepped down this summer questioning the inquiry’s structure.
“To meet its mandate, the inquiry must now undergo a hard reset and the current commissioners must respectfully resign to create space for families and communities to heal from the colonial approach that was adopted and instituted,” the families said to Trudeau. “We need to reset this inquiry and build it up – in a good way – from the communities directly affected by continued violence against Indigenous women and girls.”