Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, was hosted in Edmonton by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) on Dec. 3 for a public discussion.
More than 200 people gathered at MacEwan University for Buller’s keynote and a facilitated discussion on the commission's final report and the role of non-profits, community organizations and institutions in advancing the inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice.
“Over 2,300 people shared their hearts with us” said Buller, while urging people to read the report.
“Their truths re-wrote Canadian history. Their truths cannot be unheard. I guarantee their truths will find the fire within you. First, look inward, then use your voice to call out racism, sexism and all forms of violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people.”
Jan Reimer, the executive director of ACWS, said she hoped the evening, which included a community dinner, would renew the commitment of everyone in the room to seek justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“Because it is the imperative of all of us to act. The report says, '…this country is at war, and Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are under siege' and the experiences of our members reflect this. They see it every day, and they know it must end.”
She said the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is committed to the work of reducing the “assumptions, social practices and actions that contribute to what we now acknowledge as genocide.”
Elder Ruth Scalp Lock, founder of the Indigenous women’s shelter AwoTann Healing Lodge, opened the event with a prayer.
The number of Indigenous women in Alberta experiencing violence is disproportionately high.
Alberta had the second highest rate of instances of MMIWG with 16 per cent of the cases occurring here, according to the Final Report.
Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, and the severity of the violence is on the rise, according to a press statement from ACWS.