Nunavik women, families still have time to register for MMIW event
Saturviit women's association encourages Nunavimmiut to take part
Two pre-inquiry sessions with the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are set to be held in Quebec this week, but it’s not too late for Inuit women or families in the province to take part.
The Saturviit Inuit Women’s Association of Nunavik is encouraging Nunavimmiut survivors or families of victims to register for one of two gatherings scheduled between Jan. 20 and Jan. 22 in Montreal and Quebec City.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the department heading a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, has begun hosting pre-inquiry gatherings in different regions across the country.
The department, headed by its minister, Carolyn Bennett, has said the government will design the inquiry only after hearing from those directly affected.
Only one gathering has been scheduled in the Arctic — Jan. 29 in Iqaluit.
But while the Iqaluit session will be an Inuit-specific event, it’s easier for Nunavimmiut to travel to southern Quebec, Saturviit’s Pascale Laneuville said.
“It was easier to get to Montreal,” Laneuville said.
“We haven’t found any families to attend just yet, but there’s still time to register.”
Indigenous and Northern Affairs will pay any travel and accommodation expenses for participants. The pre-inquiry gathering takes place in Quebec City Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, and in Montreal Jan. 21 and Jan. 22.
It has been a scramble for Inuit women’s groups to coordinate their participation at the events, given the travel required for Inuit women to take part.
The inquiry itself will likely start in the summer of 2016.
“We’re hoping we’ll be better prepared then,” Laneuville said.
The inquiry is finally shaping up after years of pressure from organizations like the Native Women’s Association of Canada to address the pervasive issue of violence faced by Indigenous Canadian women and allegations that police and justice system officials have ignored the crisis.
A 2014 RCMP report documents more than 1,200 cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women between 1980 and 2012, although it did not specify how many of them are Inuit.
But a 2015 United Nations report found that young First Nations, Métis and Inuit women were five times more likely to die under violent circumstances than their non-aboriginal counterparts.
Nunavimmiut who want to take part in the pre-inquiry discussions can contact Indigenous and Northern Affairs at 1-877-535-7309.
Participants should indicate if they need translation, childcare or help arranging travel.