One month after being attacked and left to die on a Winnipeg riverbank, Rinelle Harper made her first major public appearance Tuesday.

At the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly, the 16-year-old called for an inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women.

“I'm here to talk about an end to violence against young women,” she said. “I ask that everyone here remember a few simple words: love, kindness, respect and forgiveness.”

Clutching an eagle feather, she read her prepared statement.

"As a survivor, I respectfully challenge you all to call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women."

The Assembly of First Nations is set to elect its new leader Wednesday. The position has been empty since Shawn Atleo’s abrupt resignation in May.

Amongst resolutions to demand from the government more treaty rights and a fair share of resource revenue, calls for an inquiry also came from each of the three candidates.

“We're going to keep fighting for that,” said Perry Bellegarde. “Building allies for that.”

Leon Jourdain echoed the sentiment of his rival.

“The list goes on, my relatives and friends, chiefs and leaders,” he said to the crowd. “It is time for change.”

One candidate, Ghislain Picard, called for the inquiry to go forward with or without the Harper government.

“I strongly recommend, elected or not, that this special chiefs assembly take a position to look at the possibility for us to hold our own inquiry,” Piclan said.

And that might be the only way an investigation happens under the Conservative government, based on Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s response in Parliament Tuesday.

“Further inquiries and further talk that would impede the progress that we've seen is not the direction that we're headed,” MacKay said.

With a report from CTV’s Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon in Winnipeg