Action & Outreach re: Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls

The Chair of the UBCM First Nations Relations Committee, Councillor Murry Krause, recently wrote to the UBCM membership regarding resolution 2015-B111, “National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women”. He detailed UBCM’s action on the resolution, and encouraged members to engage with Indigenous organizations in response to the severe and widespread violence faced by Indigenous women and girls in BC communities.

Submission on Design of National Inquiry

Resolution 2015-B111 called on the federal government to convene a national inquiry regarding violence against Indigenous women and girls. In December 2015, the Government of Canada announced a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, responding to the advocacy of many, including Indigenous families, communities and organizations; non-governmental and international organizations; and the Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The BC Minister of Justice and Attorney General invited UBCM to share local government perspectives with the Province, to inform their comments on the design of the national inquiry process. Framed within the federal discussion guide on pre-inquiry design, the UBCM submission focused on inquiry leadership and participation, key issues, and how best to ensure concrete and practical recommendations. UBCM expressed its members’ support for and solidarity with communities who seek justice and healing; described existing UBCM policy in this area; and outlined the role local governments play in ensuring safety and wellbeing in BC communities.

Upon the recommendation of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, UBCM also conveyed its submission directly to the federal Pre-Inquiry Secretariat.

UBCM will continue to engage in the national inquiry process as it progresses, and inform members of opportunities to provide further feedback or participate in proceedings.

Indigenous Women’s Organizations and Local Governments

Resolution 2015-B111 also urged UBCM members to reach out to Indigenous women’s organizations, in order to support development of a comprehensive response to the severe violence faced by Indigenous women and girls. Many BC local governments already have established relationships with local Indigenous communities and organizations, and UBCM would encourage local governments to invest further energy in these relationships.

For local governments looking to make initial contact, however, UBCM has compiled a list of Indigenous women’s organizations active in BC. This list serves as an overview, and is not intended to be comprehensive. In sharing information about Indigenous women’s organizations and their important work, UBCM aims to provide a stepping-stone for communities looking to establish connections with neighbours and colleagues. By strengthening relationships with Indigenous organizations and service providers, local governments may be able to support and promote work already underway, and identify opportunities for future collaboration.

For further information on UBCM’s engagement in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, please contact Angela Turner, Policy Analyst, (604) 270-8226 ext. 113.

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