What people are saying about the MMIWG national action plan

·5 min read

A national action plan to implement the calls to justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released on Thursday. Here is what people are saying:

"For decades, Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people across Canada have disappeared, suffered violence or been killed. For decades, many of you have been calling for justice, healing and concrete action to stop this tragedy. For decades, your voices have made it clear how our systems have failed you," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"Today, with the launch of the plan, we're taking a step forward together to make the transformative change necessary to end this national tragedy."

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"As family members and survivors, we bring our lived experience to guide best practices and actions to this process," said Hilda Anderson-Pyrz and Denise Pictou Maloney, co-chairs of the National Family and Survivors Circle.

"It is precedent setting to include family members and survivors in this work with partners towards ending gender- and race-based violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people."

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"I look at this action plan and I see more sickness, more loss, and more suffering — I do not see change," said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

"This document is the result of a government that has minimized the magnitude of the ongoing genocide of our sisters, aunties, daughters, mothers, and granddaughters. … Our people are outraged, emotionally exhausted and ready to rise up and push back our colonial oppressors."

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"Canada's Conservatives are deeply disappointed with the 'action plan' released by the Trudeau Liberals," said Jamie Schmale, Conservative critic for Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Gérard Deltell, House leader of the Official Opposition, in a joint statement.

"Rather than delivering a comprehensive plan to address the horrors of violence on Indigenous women and girls, the Liberals produced a plan of inaction with rehashed announcements and no concrete funding."

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"Violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Canada is an ongoing national tragedy that needs to end," said Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank the families, survivors and all partners, including over 100 Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, who worked together to develop this National Action Plan. Together, we will achieve the transformational change needed to end this violence."

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"Every single person has the right to live free of violence and all forms of discrimination, and First Nations women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people should be no exception," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

"The courage of survivors and families who have shared experiences and recommendations for action must now be matched by political will, a strong implementation plan and action by provinces, territories and the federal government."

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"This so-called action plan is another slap in the face," said Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

"Canada as a whole must take full accountability for their role in the ongoing genocide of our women and children and two-spirited people and give the crisis that is MMIWG the urgent attention it deserves."

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"First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people deserve to live safely and enjoy good mental and physical health," said Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous Services. "I take this seriously and am humbled to say that we are taking the necessary steps to meet those objectives."

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"This national action plan is an expression of the determination of contributing partners to overcome the systemic inequities that contribute to the high prevalence of violence experienced by many Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people," said Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

"I call on federal, provincial and territorial and Indigenous governments and organizations to accept all steps set out in this plan and its chapters, and to work in partnership with Inuit to bring about timely, measurable and transformative change."

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"Canada's failure to provide a proper plan … lies at the responsibility of federal and provincial governments," said Pamela Palmater, chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University.

"This comes at a particularly difficult time for Indigenous women and families who are also residential school survivors," she added, describing the ground-penetrating radar discovery of what are believed to be the unmarked graves of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., as an "incomprehensible trauma."

"This is yet another reason why Canada has to take concrete steps to end the genocide and all forms of harms to our people."

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"The Métis Nation working group has laid out a trail or Li Shmayn forward to ensure that the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people ends," said Melanie Omeniho, president of Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak and chair of the Métis Nation Working Group.

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"2SLGBTQQIA+ people have always been here. Recognizing systemic violence and erasure since contact is a bold step forward. Return of 2SLGBTQQIA+ to our rightful place as peacemakers and healers in Canada will contribute to transformative healing in communities," said Sylvia Maracle, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and chair of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ Sub-Working Group.

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"Yukon has been proud to stand alongside families, survivors and partners to support the development of the National Action Plan. We look forward to working together with our colleagues on the implementation," said Jeanie McLean, Yukon women’s directorate minister.

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"The document released today is an offensive performance by the government to skirt responsibility and glaze over the ongoing genocide of women and girls," said Melissa Moses, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs women's representative.

"Our women are survivors of colonialism with lived experience and expertise and must be at the heart of any plan moving forward. Canada must listen."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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