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October 10, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) continues to support the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S) and stresses the importance of approaching the National Inquiry with a Trauma-Informed lens.
“While there has been discussion about the need for the Commissioners and staff to apply a trauma-informed lens on all aspects of the National Inquiry work—for example, by being honest and transparent with what MMIWG2S families can expect at every stage of participation—,” shared NWAC President Francyne D. Joe, “NWAC is asking that we all remain mindful of the need to apply a trauma-informed lens when discussing the National Inquiry.”
This is not to say that we cannot be critical of the National Inquiry, there are issues that need to be resolved and many, NWAC included, are looking for reassurances that our concerns are being heard and plans are being put in place to ensure improvements are made. NWAC will continue to release Report Cards as well as work directly with the National Inquiry to provide guidance and support.
Applying a trauma-informed lens to discussions around the National Inquiry respects the reality that many families are counting on this important work. More than 750 individuals have registered to participate in some way with the National Inquiry. Several dozen have also provided testimony and evidence at the Whitehorse, YK and Smithers, BC Family Hearings. There are also long time advocates that came to NWAC and asked for us to support a call for a National Public Inquiry and these relationships continue to be honoured.
“As I continue to travel to country and our sister organizations continue to provide on-the-ground support to families,” explained NWAC President Joe, “we hear from families that are looking forward to participating, many considering sharing their story for the first time. These realities need to be considered every time the National Inquiry is criticized because these critiques do not stand in isolation but rather are connecting to the lives and experiences of the women, Two-Spirit people and families impacted by this violence.”
The presence of the National Inquiry itself also represents the first time Canadians may be introduced to the issue of MMIWG2S. We want the public to hear from families and learn about the root causes of this violence. And, similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we want Canadians to be empathetic and want to be part of a movement for social change. Disparaging the National Inquiry is distracting from the real issue and takes space away from the experiences of families.
“At the same time, we know that there are families that are calling for a ‘reset’ and NWAC respects every family’s choice to participate in any way they wish,” shared NWAC President Joe, adding, “[h]owever, until we hear from hundreds of families from all across the country, NWAC will remain committed to this process and continue to reiterate that we have a vested interest in the success of the National Inquiry.”
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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.