CTV News: MONTREAL — Advocates are upset over the federal government delaying the release of an action plan on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, a year after a federal inquiry released its final report.
Fourteen years ago, Melanie Morrison’s sister Tiffany left their home on a summer night and never came back. Morrison said police didn’t take her case seriously and years later, Tiffany’s remains were found less than a kilometre from home.
Morrison was one of 750 people who testified that the federal inquiry in MMIW that ended last year.
“This has been decades of women being treated this way and discarded,” she said.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised action, he acknowledged that the COVID-19 has delayed the release of a plan. Kahnawake Chief Gina Deer said women’s lives shouldn’t have to wait.
“Through just our community we had the blockade and now COVID but we are still managing,” she said. “Mind you, it’s at a much slower pace, but we are taking care of business.”
In a statement to CTV News, the Minister For Crown Indigenous Affairs said “We acknowledge we must redouble our efforts to eliminate the systemic racism arising from colonial policies and attitudes. The spirit of those we have lost will continue to guide our work.”
One researcher found at least 65 Indigenous women have been killed since the inquiry’s report was published in June, 2019.
“It’s going to take more than rhetoric for us to believe and start really establishing a trust relationship,” said Indigenous human rights activist Ellen Gabriel.
Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal Executive Director Nakuset that despite any government pauses, Indigenous groups are still working for change, but much work remains on issues such as safe transportation, better daycare and mental health support.
“Whether or not Canada delays the action plan, doesn’t mean Indigenous organizations don’t move forward,” she said.