Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (NIMMIWG) has found the country is complicit in “race-based genocide” against the Indigenous People.
The report identified that indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be killed or to disappear than other women in Canada. In total, the inquiry cost over C$92 million and heard over 2,300 testimonies which included survivors of violence and family members.
According to the inquiry, these issues may be attributed to deep-rooted colonialism and state negligence. The report further details 231 “calls for justice” which include a need to decolonise the curriculum; develop a national action plan to tackle violence against indigenous people; ensure equal access to public services; establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson; recognise and protect indigenous languages; and ensuring that there are support programmes and services for indigenous women and girls in the sex industry.
Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the inquiry, has described these calls as “not mere recommendations or optional suggestions, they are legal imperatives […] [The] governments must fully implement the calls for Justice to ensure the safety and dignity of Indigenous girls, women, 2SLGBTQQIA people". 2SLGBTQQIA stands for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual.
The national inquiry was initially established in 2016 by Justin Trudeau, Canada’s current Prime Minister, after years of consistent calls for an inquiry by indigenous communities. Speaking at a gathering after the release of the report, he thanked all those who courageously testified and in doing so relived “incredible pain.”
Trudeau further said:
“To the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of Canada, to their families and to survivors, we have failed you and we will fail you no longer […] In the days ahead let us walk forward together as partners hand in hand, as we right these wrongs and seek justice for the Indigenous people of Canada.”
“Sadly this is not simply a relic of our past, to this day the safety, security and dignity of Indigenous mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are routinely threatened.”
“We must continue to decolonize our existing structures and the racism, sexism and economic inequality that has allowed such violence against Indigenous women and girls to prevail must be eradicated.”
“We need to recognize the truths presented here, the truths you carry, and the future you have reached out your hands to build alongside all Canadians. We take this day as an essential day in the history and the future of this country.”
Trudeau did not use the term genocide during his speech at the inquiry's closing ceremony but on Tuesday he told a crowd in Vancouver, "We accept their findings, including that what happened amounts to genocide".