Inquiry design meeting #14: February 8-9, 2016, Regina, Saskatchewan

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held its 14th engagement meeting in Regina, on February 8-9, 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. Rather, 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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Overview

The engagement meeting was held over two days. The first day included orientation sessions for participants. Survivors, families and loved ones also shared their personal stories associated with violence against Indigenous women and girls.

The second day was dedicated to how the inquiry should be designed. Elders provided opening prayers followed by welcoming speeches from the Ministers. Participants acknowledged and honoured 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 Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness heard about the effects of violence on the survivors, the families of victims and their communities.

Participants in the Regina 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.

The day ended with traditional drumming, singing and a closing thank you from an elder to participants.

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 front-line organizations. Also in attendance were:

Officials from both departments as well as from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada were present throughout the day.

The Regina meeting was attended by about 70  survivors, family members and loved ones from Indigenous communities in the province. Elders from the following nations were present: Cree, Nakota, Dakota, Lakota and Saulteaux.  To ensure the well-being of participants, health support workers, including Indigenous elders, from Health Canada were available at the meetings and over-night to provide additional cultural and emotional support.

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 this 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:

Participants want the Inquiry's final report to include recommendations for specific actions including:

In general, the participants agreed that solving the problem of violence will be a long-term process and will require building trust among Indigenous communities and the police and justice systems. As time passes, attention should continue to focus on the needs and concerns of survivors, families and loved ones.

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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