A local organization is hopeful about the outcome of an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
The federal government has initiated an inquiry into the high number of First Nations women who have been murdered or are missing.
“There is hope for meaningful change with Justin Trudeau’s government. This is the Canada they write about — fair, equitable, peace-seeking and caring,” said Patricia Wilson, Vernon First Nations Friendship Centre executive director.
The inquiry process will begin with the Liberal government consulting with survivors, family members of victims and national aboriginal and provincial representatives to seek input on the scope of the inquiry.
Once consultation is completed, the government will announce details for the inquiry.
“The loss of any aboriginal woman or girl has far reaching impacts for First Nations, Metis and Inuit families and communities,” said Wilson.
“According to recent statistics, 55 per cent of the cases involve women and children under the age of 31. Where are these women’s children? Very little is known of what happens to the children following the loss of their mother.”
Wilson says resources are needed so individuals, families and communities can heal from trauma, and changes are needed within the justice system.
“In today’s Canada, aboriginal women and girls fear the RCMP who are charged with protecting them, and in turn disregard their concerns or use and or abuse them, as well,” she said.
“There is so much improvement to be done across all systems for meaningful improvement to occur. Where does the national inquiry begin to address great trials and tribulations of being born a Canadian aboriginal? Trauma from loss of family life and healthy communities can be linked to Canadian government’s history of forcing aboriginals to stay on lands, limiting their access to participate in a growing Canada, and taking away valued resources necessary to raising a healthy community.”
Wilson says there is a need for non-natives to help resolve outstanding issues.
“When Canada truly understands the tragedy of Canadian history and deals truthfully and looks at limiting and demeaning a people based on race, and offers significant growth to help to heal their contempt of aboriginal people, then there is hope for recovery and perhaps reconciliation in the future,” she said.