(Vancouver) – The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has submitted a formal request to the federal government for a 24-month extension of its mandate through to December 31, 2020. The submission, made last month to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, highlights work that the National Inquiry has done, and areas of investigation, research and commemoration that require more time to complete.
“The Commissioners and I firmly believe that an additional two years is required to do justice to our critically important mandate for the safety and security of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ people,” said Chief Commissioner Marion Buller.
“The response from families, survivors and Indigenous communities has been overwhelming, and we have a sacred responsibility to them to continue moving forward.”
Since the truth gathering process was launched the National Inquiry has heard from 763 witnesses during 134 public hearings and 103 in-camera at 11 Community Hearings and one Expert Hearing held across the country. The National Inquiry’s Statement Gathering team has collected an additional 276 statements and received 45 Artistic expressions. About 630 more individuals have registered with the National Inquiry to share their truths and continue to express interest in participating.
The National Inquiry continues to reach out to and engage with women and girls to increase our understanding of the issues faced by women and girls of the Métis Nation, Inuit women and girls and Indigenous women and girls living in Québec whose perspectives are critical in guiding our important work and formulating meaningful recommendations relevant to them and all of Canada.
Should the National Inquiry receive additional time, families and survivors who wish to share their truth can do so and their recommendations for change will help the Commissioners formulate recommendations for their Final Report. It will also give the National Inquiry time to more thoroughly engage with 2SLGBTQ people and to reach vulnerable Indigenous women and girls including those who are incarcerated, homeless and trafficked.
Furthermore, an extension will allow the National Inquiry to hold additional National Institutional and Expert Hearings, and Regional Institutional and Expert Hearings. These additional hearings would allow for in-depth examination of issues that include human trafficking and sexual exploitation, institutionalization of Indigenous women and girls, and healthcare and addiction services. Further they would allow for distinctions based and regional examination of these issues to ensure practical and applicable recommendations are developed. With an extension, the National Inquiry also plans to commission original research to fill gaps on pressing topics, including on the criminal justice system and systems of colonial violence.
Meanwhile, registration for family members and survivors wishing to share their truths with the National Inquiry’s Truth Gathering Process-Community Hearings and Statement Gathering-will close on April 20, 2018. Commissioners encourage all family members and survivors who wish to share their truths to register with the National Inquiry before the closing date of April 20, 2018. To do so, individuals simply need to provide their name, contact information and location in any of the following ways:
- Phone: 1-844-348-4119 · Fax: 604-775-5009
- Mail: PO Box 500, Station A – Vancouver, BC, V6C 2N3 · Email: [email protected]
“The stories of families and survivors are the heart and soul of the National Inquiry, which is why we created an inclusive and supportive process to hear from as many voices as possible,” said Chief Commissioner Marion Buller. “Every truth shared will guide the next important stages of the investigation and help to inform our recommendations for change.”
Since the National Inquiry opened the registration process during Fall 2016, more than 1400 family members and survivors have registered to participate. To date, approximately 880 family members and survivors have shared their personal stories through community hearings and statement gatherings across the country. The National Inquiry will work with organizations and communities to raise awareness of the closing date and make a concerted final call for registrations.