Inquiry design meeting #2: National Aboriginal Organizations, provinces and territories, Ottawa, December 16, 2015

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held a meeting on the design of the inquiry at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa on December 16, 2015. Their experiences, views and contributions will be used to help design the inquiry.

A summary of the meeting is provided below. The summary is not a complete account of the discussions. Instead, it highlights the key themes that emerged from this engagement meeting. Read a copy of the discussion guide or complete the on-line survey to share your own views.

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This meeting provided the opportunity for the Ministers of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, of Department of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Status of Women, and the Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, to hear the views of National Aboriginal Organizations and provincial and territorial governments regarding the design of the inquiry.

The meeting began with National Aboriginal Organizations. Provincial and territorial government representatives joined in for the second part of the meeting.

All participants expressed strong support for, and commitment to, the inquiry and offered their assistance to the process. The focus on families as well as healing, education and the need to bridge social and economic gaps were strong themes throughout the meeting.

Who attended

This engagement meeting was intended for National Aboriginal Organizations, provinces and territories to share and discuss their views on the inquiry with the Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women.

Representatives from the following National Aboriginal Organizations were present and were given the opportunity to put forward their views on the design and scope of the national inquiry:

Representatives from the provincial and territorial governments included:

Elders and officials from federal departments were also in attendance.

Leadership and participation

In terms of leadership of the inquiry, participants voiced the need to ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are each represented among commissioners. The importance of determining the mandate of the inquiry before selecting the commissioners was also noted.

Participants discussed which groups should be involved once the inquiry is underway. These included:

Priorities of the inquiry

Participants discussed what they see as priorities for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Key themes coming out of the discussion was the need for the inquiry to:

Key issues to address

Key issues participants want the inquiry to examine and address, include:

Support and cultural practices

The importance of providing appropriate resources and support to families and loved ones was evident throughout the meeting. The supports noted included:

Participants also expressed the need to ensure cultural practices and the context in small communities are recognized, respected and incorporated or taken into account in the inquiry process. For example, participants expressed the need to ensure that each Indigenous group (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) and their distinct culture and practices are considered and support. The presence of elders and caregivers was also considered important to an effective inquiry.

Format and timeline of the inquiry

Participants discussed the structure/format of the inquiry, as well as the length of the inquiry. Suggestions included:

Additional comments

As well as discussing the questions posed by the discussion guide, participants were invited to share any other comments on the design of the inquiry. Comments included the need for information to be shared as we progress in this journey towards an inquiry and link the inquiry to the reconciliation agenda.

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