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

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Tilray announces new line of products offering more inexpensive choices for medical cannabis users. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo-based Tilray launches new medical cannabis product line

Symbios brand products offered at ‘better price point’ for medical cannabis products

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Most Read