Report Released on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
It was a highly emotional scene at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Monday when officials released the much anticipated final report from the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The chief commissioner of the inquiry told survivors and families they have started to rewrite Canadian history.
Former B.C. judge Marion Buller says the tragedy is a direct result of quote "A persistent and deliberate pattern of systemic racial and gendered human and Indigenous-rights violations and abuses, perpetuated historically and maintained today by the Canadian state, designed to displace Indigenous people from their lands, social structures and governments, and to eradicate their existence as nations, communities, families and individuals.''
The more than 200 recommendations are calling for, among other things, health service providers across Canada to develop programs that could help young people recognize the signs of being targeted for exploitation.
The report is the culmination of a three-year effort also calls for the development of an effective response to human trafficking cases and sexual exploitation and violence, including in the sex industry.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women are believed to number in the thousands in Canada, but the report says that despite its best efforts to quantify the extent of the tragedy, "no one knows an exact number."
The report says Canadian society shows an "appalling apathy" to addressing the issue, in what it says amounts to "genocide."
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the government has always wanted to ensure families and survivors are not let down.
Following the official ceremony and handing over of the report, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised it will not be left on some shelf somewhere and forgotten.
He told hundreds of people gathered for the ceremony that the safety, security and dignity of Indigenous mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are "routinely threatened" and adds "we need to fix the way things work in this country."
— With files from The Canadian Press