FILE – Commissioners Marion Buller (left) and Commissioner Michele Audette prepare the official copy of the report for presentation to the government during ceremonies marking the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report in Gatineau June 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

FILE – Commissioners Marion Buller (left) and Commissioner Michele Audette prepare the official copy of the report for presentation to the government during ceremonies marking the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report in Gatineau June 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Indigenous advocates decry new MMIWG plan as ‘aspirational statements,’ not action

National action plan was released two years after the inquiry

Indigenous advocates are calling the federal government’s new plan to address missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls a series of “aspirational statements,” not a real commitment to action.

That’s how Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson, treasury-secretary of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, characterized the report during a press conference shortly after its release Thursday (June 3).

The plan to move forward on the 231 calls to action that came from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls comes two years after the original report.

The plan, branded as the long-promised national action plan, is something of a preliminary, but comprehensive, framework developed by a large group of partners, including the families of victims and survivors, each of Canada’s distinct Indigenous groups as well as provincial, territorial and federal governments.

READ MORE: 2 years after MMIWG report, Ottawa releases preliminary national plan

“One thing I was noticing in the plan is overall that justice delayed is justice denied. We can’t wait three years for some of these priorities to be handed down,” Wilson said. “Since the national inquiry, hundreds of women have gone missing and murdered many in our valleys, in our area. They go to court, and they look for justice, and they’re not finding it.”

Wilson said the plan was too reactive, and not proactive enough to help Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people before they find themselves in dangerous situations.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of the Ontario Native Women’s Association and a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, said that the action plan’s focus on individual nations can leave out many women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

“What people don’t recognize is that this excludes many Indigenous women who are not connected to a First Nation and Métis organization or any Inuit organization,” Lavell-Harvard said, noting that as many as 80 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada don’t live on a specific First Nations territory.

“We have seen with the recent COVID dollars how many women and children slipped through the cracks because of a nation-to-nation approach.”

Shelagh Day of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action decried the lack of concrete action steps in the plan.

“Let’s be clear: what was issued this morning is not a national action plan. A national action plan asks and answers the questions: what, how, who, and when,” Day said. “We were looking for and expecting concrete actions with responsibilities assigned timelines and resource allocations. That is not what we see here. What we have is some restatements of some of the calls for justice, but not a lot more.”

Funding for support services for survivors and family members is identified as the first immediate step in the plan, as well as “adequate funding” to ensure the survivors and families can remain involved to provide insight and input into the national action plan’s next steps.

While the action plan names and acknowledges the genocide perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples, Mi’kmaq laywer Pamela Palmater said it does not go far enough in addressing the “historic and ongoing genocide, that specifically targets Indigenous women and girls in very unique ways for violence, exploitation, dispossession and oppression.”

Palmater said that the plan lacks urgent action items to end the genocide.

“This was essentially a statement that in the future, we’re going to have an implementation, which is going to – in the future – have some other plans and some other target dates.”

Palmater took issue with the plan calling itself an “evergreen document.”

The last thing I want to hear in this country is that we have evergreen genocide, because that means there is no target end date, no measuring. I want the genocide to end now. And there are many, many concrete actions that they could take within the next two weeks to end genocide.”

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenous

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read