Women of the Métis Nation does not support the National Inquiry’s request for millions of dollars and an extension of time
OTTAWA, March 8, 2018 – The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (the National Inquiry) has asked for a two-year extension and $50 million to complete its work. Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO or the Women of the Métis Nation) does not support that request.
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 in partnership with the National Inquiry to provide advice and assistance so that the Métis were not forgotten, and so that the voices of Métis women, families, and survivors could be included at every step of the process. Despite our efforts, the National Inquiry’s hearings and research have excluded Métis women and girls.
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 has done, and 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 does not merely object to the Inquiry’s failures. She has made it clear that, “since the National Inquiry is not including Métis, we will do the work ourselves. We will make our own recommendations to the Minister based on work done by the Métis Nation, for our Métis women, families, and communities.”
Led by our Métis women, and under the guidance of our Elders the LFMO plans to work with Métis families and communities to gather data on Métis women and girls. We will ensure that the Métis perspective and needs are brought forward. We will include a plan to bring about reconciliation and commemoration for our loved ones. We are—as we have always been—willing to step up and work with our Métis communities, families, the Government of Canada, and others to find solutions so that we can put an end to this tragic and ongoing loss of our Métis women and girls.
The National Inquiry should have included Métis women and girls in its work. But it has not done so and the exclusion of Métis is not mere oversight. The Inquiry now claims there are limitations in the mandate that have prevented its work with Métis women and girls. We do not accept this new excuse. The Inquiry states that it is only now going to establish a Métis Advisory Committee. This too is unacceptable. Métis inclusion should have been part of the Inquiry’s work from day one.
“Even if they were given an extension and extra millions the LFMO has no confidence that the Inquiry would change course and begin to include Métis women and girls. So the Métis Nation will not support the Inquiry’s request for more money or time,” shared President Omeniho. “The Inquiry has excluded Métis women and girls and we say it is not fulfilling its mandate. More time and money will not change that. We do not support giving additional time and millions of dollars to continue on its exclusionary course.”
For further information: Melanie Omeniho, President, Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO), (780) 919-6980, firstname.lastname@example.org