June 01, 2019
By Jeremy Nuttall | Star Vancouver
VANCOUVER – Years of heartbreak, delays, controversy and outcry have culminated in a scathing report that calls Canada complicit in the deaths and disappearances of thousands.
An advance copy of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ final report, which will be officially released Monday, blames colonialism and indifferent government for enabling a “genocide.”
Nearly 2,400 people have participated in the inquiry since it began in 2016. Commissioners travelled the country from coast to coast, hearing stories of pain and loss as they gathered tissues soaked with tears, burning them in sacred fires.
“The fact that this National Inquiry is happening now doesn’t mean that Indigenous Peoples waited this long to speak up; it means it took this long for Canada to listen,” reads part of the introduction.
The final report – titled Reclaiming Power and Place – delves into the definition of genocide and how it applies to the crisis in Canada, saying “colonialist structures” have “enabled” the murders and disappearances.
“Genocide is the sum of the social practices, assumptions and actions detailed within this report,” reads the executive summary. “As many witnesses expressed, this country is at war, and Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people are under siege.”
An RCMP overview, cited by the inquiry in its interim report in 2017, put the number of missing and murdered at 1,200 between 1980 and 2012. However, in 2016, Canada’s then minister of the status of women Patty Hajdu referenced the work of advocates who found the total number, going back decades, is closer to 4,000.
Star Vancouver | Published: May 31, 2019