Inquiry design meeting #15: February 9-10, 2016, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held its fifteenth engagement meeting in Saskatoon, on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 9-10, 2016. This pre-inquiry meeting included survivors, families and loved ones. Their experiences, views and contributions will contribute to the design of 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.

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The engagement meeting was held over two days. The first day was a preparation day for participants with an orientation session where survivors, families and loved ones shared their personal stories associated with violence against Indigenous women and girls.

The second day was dedicated to how the inquiry should be designed. The day opened with wise words from Elders and the Women's Honour Song was sung. Welcoming speeches from the Ministers followed. An empty chair was set to acknowledge and honour the women and girls who were murdered and who are still missing. Prayers were also offered for those most affected by these tragedies.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs heard about the effect of violence on the survivors, the families of victims and their communities.

Participants in the Saskatoon session discussed their desire for those most directly impacted by violence to play a key role in an inquiry and to have their needs met throughout the process.

Who attended

Survivors, families and loved ones of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls attended the pre-Inquiry meeting. There were also representatives of women's organizations, and other supporters. Also in attendance were:

Officials from both departments were present throughout the day.

The Saskatoon meeting was attended by about 150 survivors, family members and loved ones from Indigenous communities in the province. Elders and health support workers were also present to provide a safe and supportive environment for participants to be able to discuss difficult issues.

Leadership and participation

Two questions were asked about who should lead and who should take part in the inquiry. The views on leadership included the need to have:

Participants also identified which groups should have a chance to take part in the Inquiry:

Participants stressed the importance of involving survivors, families and loved ones. To make participation 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:

Support and cultural practices

Participants outlined the need to include 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 about how to include cultural practices and ceremony 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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