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Inquiry deems missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada a 'genocide'
Published Friday, May 31, 2019 10:22PM EDT
The thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada constitute a “genocide,” according to a summary of the final report by the national inquiry investigating the issue.
“Genocide is the sum of the social practices, assumptions and actions detailed within the report,” the summary said. “As many witnesses expressed, this country is at war, and Indigenous women, girls…are under siege.”
The final report of the $92-million inquiry, which was launched nearly two and a half years ago by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, is slated to be released to the public on June 3, but copies of it were leaked on Friday.
The inquiry travelled across the country, conducting 24 public hearings that involved the testimony of more than 2,000 people. Commissioners heard of botched police investigations, systemic racism, indifference and incompetence.
Some say the number of daughters, sisters and wives lost to violence and indifference could be as high as 4,000.
Sheila North, the former Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief who co-produced a documentary about this epidemic, said that she “was almost a statistic” herself when she moved from the reserve into the city.
“The common thread of all the women and girls I talked to (is) every single time there was always a problem with police, some sort of feeling of being disregarded, disrespected, not believed,” North told CTV News.
She said that Indigenous communities have long considered these deaths genocide. The question is what to do about it.
In 2017, the inquiry released an interim report calling for the creation of a national police force tasked with assessing or reopening cases and reviewing investigations.
The final report will go further, bringing tougher sentences against those who injure or kill Indigenous women and imposing more restrictive bail conditions on the alleged perpetrators.
The offices of the national inquiry and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett refused to comment on the early information.