APTN National News
After schedule changes and delays, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) is set to begin hearings Tuesday in a community along the so-called Highway of Tears in B.C.
Smithers sits halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert along Hwy. 16, named the Highway of Tears because of the number of Indigenous women who have vanished or have been found dead along it.
One of those women is Tamara Chipman, 22, who disappeared in 2005.
Her aunt, Gladys Radek, has walked the highway every year for the last seven years.
The final day of Gladys’ walk is Monday which takes her into Smithers.
Chief Commissioner Buller, and commissioners Robinson and Audette will be joining Gladys for the final segment of her walk.
The second round of hearings were originally scheduled in Thunder Bay, Ont., but those hearings were moved to December.
Hearings in Saskatoon, and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut have also been postponed.
Delays, rescheduling, and high-level resignations have dogged the inquiry since it was announced in August 2016.
Recently the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Southern Chiefs’ Organization, Assembly of First Nations Manitoba, and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak voiced concerns and called for a Manitoba subcommission led by a Manitoban.
While speaking to a Senate committee lead Buller cited restraints imposed by government policy and procedure contributed to delays, and she plans on asking for more time.
Indigenous-Crown Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett told APTN National News that the government will consider an extension when the plan is formally requested.
An interim report is due in November and a final report expected December 2018.
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