National MMIWG inquiry

Final leg of national missing women inquiry begins in B.C.

More than 100 people set to speak over five days at Richmond hotel

More than 100 people were set to speak in Richmond beginning today, during the final leg of hearings in Canada’s national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“The courageous people who have come forward and who will come forward to share their truths are re-writing Canadian history,” said chief commissioner Marion Buller during the opening prayers at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel.

The five days of hearings will see the 1,000th testimony heard during the inquiry, which began in May 2017. The inquiry was launched in 2016 after calls for action from Indigenous families and organizations as a way towards reconciliation.

The commissioners’ mandate is to examine and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada by looking at patterns and underlying factors, and form recommendations in a final report to the federal government.

With unlimited time, as well as support from family members and friends, the speakers are scheduled to share their stories of violence, sexual exploitation and calls for healing.

Opening prayers during the first day of five in last community hearing for the national inquiry into missing and murdered women and girls. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)


Grand Chief Stewart Phillip called on witnesses to stand together, “shoulder to shoulder,” and support each other through telling their truths.

“It’s important for this country and for our people to here to know and understand the dark underside, the brutal side, of the colonial experience, the residential school system, the apprehension of our children by the province,” Phillip said, “and all the discriminatory and racist things that have happened to Indigenous peoples in this country, that have caused great harm, great hardship and heartbreak.”

WATCH: MMIWG livestream of public hearings in Vancouver

Advocate Gladys Radek called for the public to hold the government accountable for action after the hearing is complete.

“We don’t want this inquiry to be a fail, and we’re not going to allow the government to make it a failure,” said Radek, whose 22-year-old niece Tamara Lynn Chipman disappeared while hitchhiking in Prince Rupert in 2005.

Gladys Radek calls for accountability and action by government in last leg of national inquiry Wednesday. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)


Buller and three other comissioners are waiting to hear from the federal government on her request to extend the inquiry to a full two years.

Buller made the call for an extension to Indigneous Afairs Minister Carolyn Bennet in March. If granted, the time would be used to speak with experts, host roundtable discussions and hold further inquiries in more communities across the country.

If the extension is not granted, the final report is expected to be complete by the end of the year, translated into both French and Indigenous languages before being released to the public in 2019.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Elder Marge George delivers a morning prayer during the first day of five in the last community hearing of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

Abbotsford Friday Night Lights

Recaps of all three senior varsity football team games

City should aim for greener buildings: Blue

Abbotsford council pushes for progress after staff balks at adopting energy-efficient standards

‘Serious incident’ sends Abbotsford area worker to hospital

Few details are currently available, but WorkSafeBC says it is investigating

Raj Patara looks to bring ‘positive change’ to Abbotsford school board

Patara says focus should be on transparency, communication and accountability in school district

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read