FSIN OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NATIONAL INQUIRY BUT CONCERNS REMAIN WITH TERMS OF REFERENCE
(Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK) – The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Executive welcomes the news of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada but reservations remain with the recently released terms of reference.
“We were promised protection by the Crown when we entered into Treaty and that promise includes our women,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “We welcome the targeted approach of addressing gender violence against Indigenous women. Canada and Canadians must take a hard look at themselves and institutions that have lasted for so long and continue to allow violence against Indigenous women to continue unabated. Indigenous women are exploited, victimized, and incarcerated in unacceptable numbers. This has nothing to do with our traditional values of respect and honour for Indigenous women. Along with the national and international organizations that have given Indigenous women their support, we are watching the federal and provincial governments to ensure they fulfill their human rights obligations.”
The Commissioners must be properly empowered to make direct and effective recommendations on the specific concerns of the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, including policing and justice policies and practices. The Commissioners must also examine the full range of systemic issues that perpetuate violence against Indigenous women within all areas of provincial jurisdiction. “We urge the Government of Saskatchewan to be comprehensive in the Order-in-Council authorizing the Inquiry to examine all provincial institutions including policing, the child welfare system, the coroner’s office, and adult and youth correctional facilities,” said Vice Chief Heather Bear.
“We are pleased with the inclusiveness of the Commissioners named, their ability to travel to hear the voices and insights of families and stakeholders, and the examination of social, economic, cultural, institutional and historical causes of violence,” added Vice Chief Bear. “We will also meet with the Ministry of Justice shortly to discuss the creation of the family information liaison units and we will continue our discussions with our provincial partners to plan family gatherings.”
“We will continue to advocate for MMIW and their families to ensure that their justice is paramount through every step of this Canadian inquiry and will continue to do the political work beyond this,” said Chief Cameron. The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.