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Salish Sea Sentinel | March 20, 2019

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MMIW inquiry must contact families, says coalition

MMIW inquiry must contact families, says coalition

Canada’s inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has so far not reached out to nearly enough to family members and survivors, advocates say.

A group of frontline workers, family members and activists say the inquiry has only so far identified about 100 potential witnesses, even though many more have been affected.

The coalition on MMIWG held a news conference in Vancouver on April 3 to outline their concerns about the treatment of families.

Fay Blaney, a women’s advocate from Homalco First Nation, said family members are distraught, and commissioners must put more work into contacting those affected by the country’s epidemic of MMIW.

“We’d really like to see the commissioners and their staff put a little bit more effort into outreach to family members, to survivors,” she said. “We need much more clarity and ongoing communication.”

Blaney said the coalition has sent a letter to the federal government urging them to contact everyone in their database, asking them directly to participate in the inquiry.

Lorelei Williams speaks to reporters

Indigenous women’s advocate and MMIW family member Lorelei Williams talks to media about her concerns around Canada’s inquiry.

Frontline worker Lorelai Williams, whose aunt went missing and cousin was murdered, said there’s a toll free phone number for MMIW relatives to call, but distraught family members need direct engagement and support from commissioners.

“I don’t understand why they’re not reaching out, they need to reach out somehow,” she said. “This is a stressful topic.”