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National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women shares what they know so far

The commissioners of the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) have released an interim report.
“There will be some of the mystery solved. But I think as Canadians, we are not bringing enough awareness to this issue,” said Jean Dube, Indigenous student advisor at SAIT.
The purpose of the inquiry is to determine the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women. The report intends to make recommendations for steps proven to remedy these problems and offer ways to honour the lives of the women lost already.
The MMIWG national inquiry is currently in its initial stages and is attempting to “find the truth” through community, collaboration with elders and knowledge keepers, institutional and expert hearings, research and forensic analysis of police records.
Based on statistics from 2015, the report states that four per cent of the Canadian population consists of Indigenous women, yet they account for 24 per cent of homicides.
The likelihood of Indigenous women to be murdered or missing is 12 times that of other women in Canada, said the interim report.
“You have to remember in society’s eyes, Indigenous women are at the lowest low of the totem pole,” said Dube.
In total, the inquiry has analyzed 98 reports on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“Virtually all of the reports that discuss root causes point to the historical legacies and continuing impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities,” the interim report states. Colonialism was the takeover of territory by Europeans in an effort to exploit natural resources, which resulted in the oppression of other cultures.
The inquiry uncovered 17 themes previous reports recommended. Of these 17 themes, two have been fully implemented.
The two implemented so far are the need for a national inquiry and the need for the government to publicly condemn and acknowledge violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The other themes addressed either have not been fully implemented, or there is no measurable way to determine if they have been implemented.
One that cannot be fully measured, is the RCMP creation of special investigation units, because many internal police policies are not made public. Additionally, it is difficult to determine if individual officers are following these policies.
Both the report and Dube agree that the lasting effects of colonialism are, in part, to blame for this issue.
“Until we beget an understanding of the issues that happened in residential schools, if we stand up and say we can’t have this happen to us anymore, it’s not going to stop,” said Dube.
Dube said residential schools left a lasting effect on Indigenous people that experienced abuse at the institutions. At such a young age, it became normalized that they and their culture were unimportant, and therefore that the abuse was acceptable.
Dube said education and awareness are very important steps in solving this issue.
“There’s no other way to bring this to light for other people,” said Dube.
“If the average Canadian became aware of this issue among the Indigenous people, they’re going to stop and say, ‘oh my god what if this was me or my family member?’
“We can’t let this happen.”

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