APTN National News
The daughter of Anna Mae Aquash, who was murdered in South Dakota in the 1970’s is welcoming the chance to finally tell her mother’s story before the national inquiry.
“I’ve personally been working on my mom’s case for 20 years,” said Denise Pictou-Maloney who is also the inquiry’s community relations liaison.
The inquiry into murdered and missing women and girls began registering families in the Halifax area Tuesday.
It’s in preperation of the upcoming hearings in October.
“It’s a 42 year old case,” said Pictou-Maloney. “There’s been a lot of neglect there, systematic neglect, you know, from the very day that my mom went missing.”
Anna Mae Aquash was killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in early 1976.
Two men were convicted of her murder.
Pictou-Maloney said her family can now officially document her mother’s case.
“Because we’ve never had that opportunity where we get to say what has happened to our family in one place and have it encapsulated,” she said.
Pictou-Maloney said she’s downplaying calls for a reset of the national inquiry as some families have demanded.
“With an organization people come, people go,” she said. “I never felt there was any delay or any kind of controversy, criticisms I guess based on what I knew to be true as a family member.”
The inquiry’s director of health is also in Halifax.
Terrellyn Fearn is the interim director of community relations after the recent departure of Waneek Horn Miller.
She said she does feel some pressure.
“But really the pressure is not about the stress of it, it’s around the responsibility,” she said. “And the responsibility of all of us, not just those working the but everyone really wanting this to succeed.”
Fearn said she views the criticism of the inquiry as being constructive.
“In addition, think there’s a lot of things that we’re doing really well,” said Fearn. “So it’s a matter of weaving those two together to really get a better sense of what is the right way and the right process to move ahead.”
Click here for information on inquiry: Participation in National Inquiry
As of Tuesday, 550 families have registered.
Pictou-Maloney said she believes families still want an inquiry.
“Until you know collectively hear from a thousand, 1200 families or whatever the number is expected in this country, they don’t want it,” she said.
“Then, until I’m told to stop, I’ll keep going.”
Registration for the inquiry continues Wednesday in Membertou First Nation on Cape Breton Island.
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