This week the inquiry in to missing and murdered Indigenous women announced the dates for 9 hearings across Canada, but that hasn’t restored people’s faith in the work being done.
Chief Commissioner Marion Buller announced that the inquiry will be touring the country starting the second week of September until the year’s end.
Native Women’s Association of Canada President Francyne Joe feels it’s about time they made some announcement but there are still gaps in the process and more work needs to be done.
“It’s about time,” said Joe. “She needs to have more of those in order to get the confidence of the people- of the families again. Because right now they are so upset and discouraged. She’s like a salmon swimming up water, you know. She could do with the support.”
The Inquiry has been under fire for lack of communication with families and the media, along with the staff turn over of key people involved in the inquiry.
Since its launch last September, there have been five people to move on from being involved with the inquiry and that is leaving families, organizations and people who are anticipating the inquiry worries about its success.
Commissioner Buller noted in her announcement that she and her staff have made remarkable amounts of progress during that time and she is enthusiastic about the hearings, but NWAC feels its a little too early to celebrate and they need to focus on communication with these communities and strategically plan additional hearings outside of city centres.
“I mean its good that shes optimistic,” said Joe “However I really felt that last fall, that is when they should have done these technical meetings, and I think they should have been releasing the schedule at the beginning of the year. So, I think she’s running a little behind and playing catch up. She needs to think of this as the glass half full rather than half empty. So, we’re going to support her as much as we can.”
More announcements are expected in the upcoming weeks regarding further meetings. The Native Women’s Association would like to see more work being done surrounding support for families and communities after the hearings.
Joe said that a lot of these affected communities are small and people don’t always feel comfortable opening up to local counselors in the community. She is hoping that as these announcements go on more information will be released regarding financial, legal and mental health initiatives to support families who are testifying at the hearings.