APTN National News
The national inquiry looking into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is organizing a series of meetings in Halifax this week to hear from families ahead of the public hearings.
As of late, commissioners of the inquiry have been dealing with pressures to resign from some families who are unhappy with how the process is going.
The national inquiry has also been plagued by a series of high profile resignations including commissioner Marilyn Poitras.
“It’s not that we don’t have criticisms, we do,” said Delilah Saunders whose sister was Loretta was killed in Halifax. “And we bring other peoples concerns forward too.”
Delilah Saunders is a member of the national inquiry’s family advisory circle.
“If we do a hard reset, all the work that has been done thus far, that will go to waste,” she said.
“The families, the 55 families in Whitehorse who testified did ask us in the south to have patience, to give the inquiry a chance.”
But last week, a number of people put their name in a letter address to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for that hard reset on the inquiry.
One that included the resignation of all remaining commissioner.
Josie Nepinak was one of them.
“Immediate action needs to take place,” said Nepinak. “We are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene and create a safe place for the recommendations that were made and those recommendations include replacing the commissioners.”
But Saunders said she rejects that action.
“Families have built relationships with these commissioners and stuff,” said Saunders. “And I personally have faith in this process and these commissioners.
“I met them and I know their hearts. I just can’t support a hard reset, especially when they’re been people fighting for this for decades.”
Cheryl Maloney is the president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association.
She said families in Atlantic Canada want the national inquiry to continue.
“Everyone I’ve talked to are willing to participate,” said Maloney. “I haven’t heard anything saying no we’re not supporting this and Cheryl you can’t say things like that. Haven’t heard it yet.”
Maloney said without consensus on a reset, it’s business as usual.
“I don’t know if the Inquiry will survive. I don’t know if Trudeau may come out tomorrow and reset. I have no clue,” said Maloney. “I don’t need to really know. I think right now we just focus on the families, that’s what they told us, families, first.”
An intake is planned Tuesday in Halifax for families wishing to participate at the public hearing in October.
The national inquiry visits the Membertou First Nation on Cape Breton Island on Wednesday, and Millbrook First Nation on Thursday.
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