MMIWG Releases Final Report, Issues Calls For Justice to Redress “Genocide”

UPDATED June 4, 2019 2:16pmET


 

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls formally released its final report on June 3, including 231 calls for justice and the conclusion that Canada’s treatment of cases has amounted to a genocide.

“The violence the National Inquiry heard about amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, which especially targets women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This genocide has been empowered by colonial structures, evidenced notably by the Indian Act, the Sixties Scoop, residential schools and breaches of human and Indigenous rights, leading directly to the current increased rates of violence, death, and suicide in Indigenous populations.”

 


 

What the Report Said

After hearing from nearly 1,500 witnesses over the course of nearly three years, the inquiry concluded that:

  • Despite the National Inquiry’s best efforts to gather all of the truths relating to the missing and murdered, we conclude that no one knows an exact number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada. Thousands of women’s deaths or disappearances have likely gone unrecorded over the decades, and many families likely did not feel ready or safe to share with the National Inquiry before our timelines required us to close registration.
  • An absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism within Canadian society, and from all levels of government and public institutions. Ideologies and instruments of colonialism, racism, and misogyny, past and present, must be rejected.
  • The Canadian legal system fails to hold the state and state actors accountable for their failure to meet domestic and international human rights and Indigenous rights obligations.
  • The Canadian state has displaced Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people from their traditional roles in governance and leadership and continues to violate their political rights. This has been done through concerted efforts to destroy and replace Indigenous governance systems with colonial and patriarchal governance models, such as the Indian Act, and through the imposition of laws of general application throughout Canada. Indigenous governments or bands as established under the Indian Act or through local municipal governments do not have the full trust of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
  • Efforts by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to be self-determining face significant barriers. Many Indigenous women’s advocacy organizations and grassroots organizations engaging in essential work to support survivors of violence and families of missing or lost loved ones, and working toward restoring safety, are underfunded and under supported by current funding formulas and systems.

Watch the full closing ceremony

Watch the commissioners’ full news conference

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A Canadian Genocide?

Of note was the commissioners’ decision to call the violence a “race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples,” complete with a 25-page legal analysis.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that his government would review the final report — and not let it gather dust on a shelf. But he did not repeat the word “genocide” in his closing-ceremony remarks.

 

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said this about the report’s language:

Trudeau was asked one day later about his acceptance of the term “genocide”:

More political reaction from Parliament Hill:

Watch: Conservative reaction

Watch: NDP reaction

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Survivors and Families

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls heard from 1,484 survivors and family members in 15 communities across Canada. These are some of their stories.

CPAC’s Martin Stringer also spoke to families after the report’s release:

 

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Calls For Justice

As for what comes next, the MMIWG commissioners were clear: their recommendations “are legal imperatives — they are not optional.”

The 231 calls for justice encompass everything from policing, the courts, and the prison system to health care, education, the media, and natural resource projects.

MMIWG commissioners joined Peter Van Dusen on PrimeTime Politics to discuss their report:

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This broadcast deals with sensitive subject matter. For immediate emotional assistance, viewers can call Canada’s national, toll-free 24/7 crisis call line: 1-844-413-6649.

More information here: https://bit.ly/30JbBbm

Browse below for archived MMIWG Inquiry public hearings. And read the interim report.

Watch the MMIWG Inquiry

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