Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler has released the following statement in response to the Government of Canada’s delay of a national action plan on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:
“We are coming up to the one-year mark since the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released.
I am disappointed at the lack of attention that this extraordinarily important issue has received since the release. It seems as soon as the immediate media attention ceased, the Report was ‘shelved’, just like we feared.
The Report details horrific circumstances that Indigenous women and girls face on a daily basis – many of those leading to tragic consequences. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated some of these factors. Nishnawbe Aski Police Service is reporting an increase in the number of domestic violence calls that it has received, and perhaps more concerning, is the deafening silence from women who are facing violent situations that there may be no easy escape from in this new reality.
While getting the National Action strategy ‘right’ is important, it cannot be the only goal. The work is long overdue. I cannot accept that in one year, there is nothing that we can all meaningfully act on. I am also concerned at the lack of communication from the Federal government despite our efforts to engage on the work.
We will be keeping a very close eye on this work at NAN. It cannot be overstated how crucial it is that we all take this seriously.”
The announcement of a nation-wide strategy was expected to coincide with the first anniversary of the June 3, 2019 release of the Final Report. The Report’s 231 Calls for Justice call for reform of the justice system and policing, changes to the Indigenous child welfare system, the elimination of gender discrimination and the preservation of Indigenous languages.