May 28, 2016 by
The federal government has quietly released a series of recommendations from its pre-inquiry consultations with friends and family of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The report was release late Friday with no press release.
According to the report, there were 17 meetings involving 2,000 friends and family across the country, with Indigenous organizations, provincial and territorial leaders, Indigenous leaders, scholars and legal experts.
The government also accepted comments via an online forum and survey.
“The face-to-face meetings provided the government a chance to hear directly from survivors, and families and loved ones of murdered or missing women and girls,” according to the report posted online. “Participants were provided with cultural, spiritual and religious support. Elders were also on hand to provide ceremony and counsel. Also, health support workers were available to provide additional cultural and emotional support.”
According to the report, the government heard:
The leadership should represent Indigenous communities and regions. It should also have a timetable that is sensitive to the needs of survivors, families and loved ones. Efforts must be made to avoid a long, drawn-out and legal process.
The inquiry should include as many individuals and organizations as possible including survivors, families and loved ones, national Indigenous organizations, front-line workers, and Indigenous community leaders and organizations.
It should also respect different points of view.
The inquiry should take a broad approach to its analysis of the issues. It should look at the economic, cultural, political and social causes of violence against women, girls and trans and two-spirit people.
It should also look at the causes of unequal and unjust treatment of Indigenous women, girls and trans and two-spirit people and recommend solutions to the causes of violence.
The inquiry should provide a variety of cultural, spiritual and religious supports and ceremonies. The ceremonies should reflect the diversity of all participants and regions and be supported by elders.
As well, it will be critical to have professional mental health counselling and community-based health supports. Professional and culturally-sensitive counselling will be needed if the inquiry is to be effective and avoid causing further trauma.
What isn’t clear is when the inquiry will start. When it was announced, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said she wanted it officially announced before the House of Commons recessed for the summer.
That is towards the end of June.