World, Americas

Canada releases plan on missing, murdered Indigenous women, girls

As many as 4,000 may have disappeared over three decades

Barry Ellsworth  | 03.06.2021 - Update : 04.06.2021
Canada releases plan on missing, murdered Indigenous women, girls

TRENTON, Canada 

The Canadian government released its plan Thursday to address the tragedy of as many as 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

The government promised a CAN$2.2 billion fund to reach goals suggested by the National Inquiry into the (MMIWG).

The inquiry compiled a 1,200-page report given to the government two years ago that contained 213 recommendations.

The country is still reeling from the discovery last week of 215 children's bodies in unmarked graves at a former Indian residential school and the document released Thursday allocated $27 million to Indigenous communities to help in the search for graves at 138 other residential schools. The United Nations called for a full probe into the discovery.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a televised address Thursday that the missing women were a "national tragedy" and vowed to "end violence against Indigenous women and girls."

In regards to the MMIWG report and the children's bodies at the British Columbia residential school, Trudeau said Canada is "no longer trying to hide" the truth.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported in 2014 that more than 1,000 Indigenous women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012.

In some cases, investigations were incomplete because of racist and lackadaisical attitudes.

But the Native Women's Association of Canada said the number is actually nearer to 4,000 but incomplete data makes the number hard to determine.

The MMIWG report contained a number of short-term goals set by the government.

They included a public campaign to explain the issues experienced by Indigenous people, a national task force to look at unresolved cases of the missing and murdered women and girls and a structure put in place to represent families and survivors of residential schools. About 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their parents and put into the schools beginning in the 1820s. The idea was to cancel out native culture.

But the MMIWG plan does not contain all the government hopes to achieve.

"The national action plan is not intended to be a final plan but one that is evergreen (continually evolving) and requires monitoring and reporting on progress, as well as further co-development (with Indigenous peoples) and course correction as required," the report states.

However, critics said the plan lacks specific actions, as well as financial commitments for families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Ahead of the report's release on Wednesday, members of the Native Women's Association of Canada walked away from what they termed a "fundamentally flawed" process, CTV News reported.

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