After 24 hearings, over 2,280 witnesses and thousands of hours of testimony, the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls concluded that “we live in a country whose laws and institutions perpetuate violations of fundamental rights, amounting to a genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people,” explained the Inquiry’s Chief Commissioner, Marion Buller.
The Inquiry’s final report, Reclaiming Power and Place was released this week and documents testimony from family members and survivors of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The report outlines historic and on-going trauma in the form of poverty, insecure housing or homelessness and barriers to education, employment, health care and cultural support.
“First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada have been the targets of violence for far too long. This truth is undeniable. The fact that this National Inquiry is happening now doesn’t mean that Indigenous Peoples waited this long to speak up; it means it took this long for Canada to listen,” begins the 1,200-page report.
“Colonial violence, as well as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, has become embedded in everyday life,” the report states. “The result has been that many Indigenous people have grown up normalized to violence, while Canadian society shows an appalling apathy to addressing the issue … this amounts to genocide.”
The Inquiry report includes 231 Calls to Justice, with recommendations for all Canadian and Indigenous governments on how to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. It also includes several recommendations and calls on all Canadians to denounce violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, to learn about the histories and cultures of Indigenous peoples, and to confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and to teach or encourage others to do the same.
CUPE encourages all of its members to read the Inquiry report and to personally commit to implementing the Calls to Justice. CUPE is committed to ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and will work to hold all governments and our own union to account on implementing the Calls to Justice.