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

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read