NunatuKavut disappointed with lack of progress to date on Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls process; cautiously optimistic about National Action Plan
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, LABRADOR, June 4, 2021 – NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) President Todd Russell today issued the following statement after the release of the National Action Plan to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People (MMIWG):
“NCC was honoured to have been participatory in the National Inquiry into MMIWG process and was present at the closing ceremony two years ago when the final report was presented to the Government of Canada. We again commend the Commissioners for their diligence in undertaking important work. And we especially thank all of the brave Indigenous people and families who participated and shared their stories.
The National Action Plan was launched yesterday on the 2nd anniversary of the National Inquiry’s final report release and the federal contribution for the plan was announced today. Over the past two years, we have seen little to no progress from Canada or the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on this matter. While we are pleased to see the priorities outlined in the plan, we remain deeply concerned about the implementation and how it will result in real and tangible change for NunatuKavut Inuit women, girls and vulnerable people in our communities.
NCC was a vocal participant in the National Inquiry process. We received official legal standing and funding to participate in the institutional, knowledge-keeper and expert hearings. Upon release of the final report, NCC clearly outlined recommendations that were consistent with the “calls for justice” in the report. We called for immediate and specific action from Canada in the areas of health, education and infrastructure. In the months following the release of the final report, we were invited to participate in a number of national roundtables hosted by Minister Carolyn Bennett to discuss Canada’s next steps. Since that time, however, NCC has not been directly engaged in this process.
Throughout history, Inuit women have held a prominent place in our families and communities. Over many generations, colonizers have used gender as a tool of assimilation and coercion to undermine the role and strength of women. For example, Europeans degraded women and regarded them as less intelligible for speaking Inuttitut. The introduction of patriarchy came with foreign institutions and governments, contributing to the oppression of NunatuKavut Inuit women, girls and families. Women have been pushed from their traditional homelands, marginalized, de-valued and their voices and roles largely ignored. Today, they continue to be disproportionally impacted by inequities experienced by our communities, ranging from lack of health supports to water and food insecurities to limited access to culturally relevant crisis intervention. These have been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 global pandemic. In the face of all of this, however, I am proud to say that the women of NunatuKavut are strong. They remain determined to preserve our culture, identity, lands and a valued role in our society.
The priorities and needs of NunatuKavut Inuit women, girls and other vulnerable people in our communities are urgent and we cannot waste any more time in addressing them. We implore Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to form a working group table with NCC to ensure that implementation is responsive to these needs. It is important that our voices and stories are included in this important process moving forward.
NCC is committed to a renewed relationship with Canada and the Province that will see improved health, safety, security and wellbeing of all women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals and their families in NunatuKavut.”
For regular updates, please visit our website at www.nunatukavut.ca. Please also join in the conversation at facebook.com/nunatukavut and Twitter @nunatukavut.
Director of Communications