The past year brought long-overdue, international attention to the atrocities of Canada’s residential school system and its long-lasting impacts on Indigenous peoples. But the injustices faced by Indigenous communities in this country sadly do not end there.
As indicated in Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (The Final Report), the violence inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ2+ people amount to a race-based genocide of Indigenous peoples.
That is why the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) chose to honour our Sisters in Spirit. On October 4, we remember the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing, and recognize the role systemic anti-Indigenous racism plays in their ongoing abuse and oppression.
This year, NWAC will hold a virtual vigil on October 4, at 2 p.m. EDT, which will be streamed live on their Facebook page. PSAC members are encouraged to participate to show support for grieving families and to remember and honour those who are valued and missed.
Trudeau’s plan ‘more visionary than substantive’
The Final Report was delivered in June 2019 with 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries, and all Canadians.
Two years later, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government finally released their plan on how they will move forward with these Calls for Justice.
NWAC was quick to distance itself from the plan and remove its name as a partner, calling the process “toxic and dysfunctional." The national Indigenous organization said the plan was “more visionary than substantive and pushes concrete action off to yet another day.” NWAC president Lorraine Whitman said Indigenous women are “no safer now than we were two years ago.”
In response to the government’s disappointing inaction, NWAC released NWAC Action Plan: Our Calls, Our Actions outlining a grassroots plan to end this genocide. PSAC supports NWAC’s calls for concrete action driven by the lived experiences of women and girls from the community. The time for consultation has passed. It is time for this government to step up and take real action.