July 6, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is continuing its work in seeking accountability from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry) as they announce a preliminary schedule of hearings. Chief Commissioner Buller’s comments at a press conference held today also included reassurances that their work is proceeding quickly, that they are confident in having material for their interim report in November, and that they will be requesting an extension of their timeline and the funds to support the additional work.
“Commissioner Buller’s informational statements today were needed but I feel that an opportunity was missed in addressing the departure of senior staff, including Michele Moreau,” offered Interim President Francyne D. Joe. “The announcement of an Interim Executive Director and other details about who will replace Director Moreau would demonstrate to families and communities that they have planned and prepared for any resignations and are capable of moving quickly to continue momentum. It would tell us that there is someone overseeing this strategy and executing the schedule families are depending on.”
Although NWAC has been informed by the Inquiry that they have received training to ensure that all aspects of the Inquiry are performed in a trauma-informed manner, NWAC encourages its full application when addressing the public. This includes a comfort level when speaking about the LGTBQ2S+ community, sensitivity to the needs of families in relation to the Inquiry’s expediency in holding Community Hearings of the Truth Gathering Process (Community Hearings), and mindfulness of the impact of body language and tone on messages being delivered.
In a letter being sent to National Inquiry leadership today, NWAC formally requests a list of the regional organizations informing the Community Relations team as they draft specific cultural protocols for each area in which Community Hearings are held. As outlined in the second of two Report Cards under Terms of Reference numbers 3, 7, and 10, NWAC believes that publically listing the organizations hosting, welcoming, advising the Inquiry, and providing family supports is necessary in order to ensure transparency and give other groups the opportunity to make additional recommendations.
“We will keep asking for what we feel honours the Families First model, including important information like which legal and human resources supports are available to families as they register,” finished Joe. “We’d also like to see the organizational elements stabilize so that the National Inquiry may maintain and build on its existing institutional knowledge.”
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