More than 2,380 people participated in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, some in more ways than one.
Four hundred and sixty-eight family members and survivors of violence shared their experiences and recommendations at 15 Community Hearings. Over 270 family members and survivors shared their stories in 147 private or on-camera sessions. Almost 750 people shared through statement gathering and 819 people created artistic expressions to become part of the National Inquiry’s Legacy Archive. Another 84 Expert Witnesses, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers, front-line workers and officials provided testimony in nine Institutional and Expert and Knowledge Keeper Hearings.
The truths shared in these National Inquiry hearings tell the story – or, more accurately, thousands of stories – of acts of genocide against First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This violence amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, which especially targets women” (National Inquiry into MMIWG).
While the National Inquiry into MMIWG was in process, they requested a two year extension. This was asked based on the fact that there were so many stories still untold and the fact that “documented” numbers are not reflective of real numbers and only further inquiry would show a more accurate picture. The request was denied by the federal government. The government also refused funding to support the families and victims who told their stories during the inquiry.
There is so much information on this topic, that it is shocking that the 231 Calls to Justice laid out in the final report have had little to no work done. Indigenous women are five times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women (the number who were murdered by strangers is three times higher than that of non-Indigenous women — this is NOT an Indigenous on Indigenous issue). The rates increase astronomically in two specific demographics: sex workers and those who live near resource extraction sites. Many of these cases go unsolved and too often are not even investigated.
One example of this, specific to sex workers was Robert Pickton. Reports were made and RCMP were on site of the Pickton farm in B.C, but when investigations finally started years after the first suspicion, there was DNA evidence of 26 missing women found. How many of those (and others whose DNA evidence was not found) could have been saved if Indigenous women’s lives were seen as sacred?