Inquiry design meeting #10: January 21-22, 2016, Montreal, Quebec

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held its tenth engagement meeting in Montreal, Quebec, on Thursday and Friday, January 21-22, 2016. This pre-Inquiry meeting included survivors, families and loved ones. 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 used at this meeting or complete the on-line survey to share your own views.

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The Montreal engagement session was conducted with survivors, families, loved ones and front line organizations over a two-day period. On day one, participants registered and attended an orientation session, while on the second day survivors, families and loved ones took part in a sharing circle with the Ministers and then engaged in a discussion about how best to design an Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Front-line organizations also participated in the Inquiry design discussion.

On the first day, participants met for an orientation session and were invited to begin sharing their stories. Participants expressed their appreciation for the announcement of an Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and their gratitude for being included in the pre-inquiry design process.

The second day was dedicated to how the inquiry should be designed. At the start of the day, the room was blessed and traditional ceremonies were performed by Mohawk, Algonquin and Inuit Elders, who also explained the significance of these ceremonies for the Indigenous peoples of the area. Smudging, the lighting of the kudlik lamp and a special drumming ceremony, with a song specifically written for Indigenous women who have been murdered or are still missing, was performed by a men's drumming group wishing to signal their support in the inquiry process. To begin the day, opening speeches were held by the Elders, Ministers and facilitator. Participants were able to listen and participate in their choice of English, French and Inuktitut.

Who attended

Survivors, families and loved ones of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls attended the pre-inquiry meeting. Representatives of front-line organizations were also in attendance. Other participants included:

Officials from the departments were in attendance throughout the engagement session.

Ministers stressed the need to engage first with survivors, family and loved ones to "get it right".

Nearly 75 family members and loved ones participated from Indigenous communities in the surrounding area. Elders and health support workers were also on-site to provide support and create a supportive place for discussions.

Leadership and participation

Participants were asked who should lead the Inquiry and provided some of the following feedback:

Participants also identified which groups should be given the opportunity to take part in the inquiry:

Participants stressed the importance of involving survivors, families and loved ones. To make this possible, participants said the inquiry must:

Priorities and key issues

Participants identified the issues the Inquiry must address if it is to produce recommendations for specific actions. These issues include:

Participants want the inquiry's final report to include recommendations for specific actions including:

Support and cultural practices

Participants outlined the need to include support as well as traditional practices and ceremonies in the inquiry process. The inquiry must also include healing processes to acknowledge and address the trauma felt by those affected.

Recommendations on these areas include:

Additional comments

As well as discussing the questions listed in the discussion guide, participants were invited to share other comments and views on the design of the inquiry. These include:

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