Last week, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report and 231 individual “Calls for Justice” directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries, and all Canadians.
The Federation team is still working our way through the report, but we felt that it was important to add our voice to this important national conversation sooner rather than later. Because for thousands of families across the country, the harsh and painful truths contained in this report are their everyday lived experience. And everyone in this country—and especially within this sector—needs to understand this.
By framing the recommendations as “Calls for Justice” and using rights-based language, the report makes very clear the fact that Canada and every citizen within Canada have a legal and moral obligation to implement them. Each one of us needs to speak up and make clear our expectation that these calls be answered.
But it can be hard to know exactly what to do in these moments. After the many workshops and learning sessions that The Federation has hosted over the years, we have become very familiar with the feelings and compulsions that emerge when such reports are released—the motivation of anger and determination tempered by feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. What do we do next?
We are grappling with that same question, as individuals and as an organization. But even though we may not yet know what to do, we refuse to say silent.
In one of the articles covering the report this week, Cindy Blackstock said that: “All of these reports and all these truths are piling up in a way that makes it more and more difficult for people normalize the discrimination and to turn away from it.”
I may not be able to shift the consciousness of a nation, but at the very least, I believe it is important for each and every one of us to find ways to speak up and shift the discussions and perceptions within our own spheres of influence about the truths within this report and the calls for justice that have been made.
In conversations this week, I have already been reminded a few times about the severe lack of supports for Indigenous families, women and children affected by violence, and those people who bravely took part in this inquiry. As a sector, we can all raise awareness about these gaps and reach out to provide support and care as much as possible.
Canada’s system of care is absolutely complicit in the genocide of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals. The Federation is a part of that system and we will be taking time over the next few weeks to consider how we can give the stories and calls to justice that have come out of this inquiry the respect, attention, and action that they require. This will also be on the agenda for The Federation’s board meeting next week. Your board members and I welcome your thoughts or suggestions so don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact info for myself can be found here. Contact info for your Board of Directors is on the Member’s section of our website.
We will share more information and next steps with members over the coming weeks. In the meantime, read and share the report.