OTTAWA, Nov. 19, 2018 /CNW/ - The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is planning a guided dialogue session November 19-21, 2018 in Edmonton. Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO/Women of the Métis Nation) boycotting this event.
On behalf of the women, girls, and families of the Métis Nation, LFMO has been attempting to work with the National Inquiry to ensure that it is inclusive, supportive, and respectful of the distinct needs and realities of Métis women and girls. From the beginning, LFMO has tried to work with the National Inquiry to provide advice and assistance so that the Métis were not forgotten, and that the voices of Métis women, families, and survivors would be included at every step of the process.
National Inquiry's processes have excluded Métis women and girls and the information gathering portion of the Inquiry is wrapping up in December 2018. LFMO was led to believe that a Métis Guided Dialogue Engagement may assist in addressing the issues to fill the gaps in Métis exclusion identified in the Inquiry's Interim report released in December 2017. Very recently, LFMO was made aware that a third party is contracted undertake a process that is generic and not specific to the issues and experiences of the Metis community. They believe the dialogue session will not be a part of the evidence that is considered by the Commissioners or the Intervenors and will serve as a placeholder to advise that they hosted an event for the Metis Nation.
The National Inquiry's Interim Report stated that they have no information with respect to Métis women and girls. As LFMO President Omeniho explains, "the reason there is no information on murdered and missing Métis women and girls is because the Inquiry is doing nothing to seek out that information. It is inexcusable to exclude Métis in a process that was mandated and funded to include murdered and missing Métis women and girls". President Omeniho stated that this Guided Dialogue session may result in an inaccurate depiction of the systemic and institutionalized racism experienced by Métis women and girls leading to increased violence perpetrated unto them.
Although there have been recent attempts to repair the broken relationship between the National Inquiry and Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak, it is apparent that this hastily prepared dialogue session is not the answer to dealing with the lack of Métis-specific information. Given the lack of Métis inclusion in the Inquiry process to date, Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak does not feel that a one-day discussion in a Métis guided dialogue with an external consultant will result in a sufficient picture of the systemic causes of violence experienced by Métis women and girls. LFMO has concerns that the synthesis of the information gathered will be solely based on what the external facilitators choose to put into the report without the consideration of a Métis perspective. This is further complicated with the fact that a Métis Advisory committee has not been convened and the Inquiry's Métis commissionaire's position was vacated in July of 2017 and was not filled.
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak is concerned with the lack of respect shown throughout the National Inquiry process and the chronic lack of inclusion of the experiences faced my Métis women and is reflected in the planning and delivery of the session. This process mirrors racism experienced by Métis people historically and in a contemporary context.
President of the Métis National Council, Clément Chartier stated "It is unfortunate that the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and its final report will not reflect perspectives of the Métis Nation. The process to date has been exclusive and discriminatory, akin to undertakings of the past such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From the Métis Nation point of view the anticipated report will, in effect, be a report on missing and murdered First Nations and Inuit women and girls exclusively."
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak will continue to work with the government of Canada to undertake research specific to Métis women and girls. Under the guidance of Elders, Métis families, communities along with subject matter experts will be engaged to gather data about Métis women and girls. LFMO will ensure that the Métis perspective and needs are brought forward. A concrete plan will be developpe and will include a plan to bring about reconciliation and commemoration for our loved ones. The goal of LFMO is to find solutions so that we can put an end to this tragic and ongoing loss of our Métis women and girls.
SOURCE WOMEN OF THE MÉTIS NATION
For further information: Melanie Omeniho, President, Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO), (780) 919-6980, [email protected]