(Toronto, October 4, 2019) Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald and the Chiefs of Ontario honour the lives and legacies of the hundreds of Missing and Murdered Women and Girls across Canada today and stand alongside with the survivors and families, on the 14th Annual Sisters in Spirit day.
“Today, I, along with the Chiefs of Ontario, are honouring and commemorating the hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA across Canada. As Sisters in Spirit vigils are being held from coast to coast to coast today, it is vital that we keep the estimated 4,000 Indigenous women that have been murdered or gone missing in our hearts and remember the legacies these women have left behind and the impact they have had on our past, present and future.
This past June, the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls concluded and released their final report titled, “Reclaiming Power and Place.” Within this 1,200 page document, it details the deep-seated racism, discrimination and genocide that Indigenous women and girls have faced for decades, and while Indigenous women and girls suffer higher rates of violence and homicide than non-Indigenous women and girls, statistics also show that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other woman in Canada.
Within the final report, it is well documented that Indigenous women, girls and the 2SLGBTQQIA community face unprecedented systemic forms of violence, marginalization, discrimination and poverty, and it needs to be addressed for our communities to heal and move forward.
As Regional Chief, I am committed to working alongside families, communities and leadership to implement the calls to justice outlined in the report utilizing a ‘families first’ approach. Specifically, the first call to justice urges the federal, provincial, and all Indigenous governments to develop an action plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA. Secondly, that all governments develop urgent and special measures to ensure that Indigenous women hold governance roles and that their political rights are respected and upheld.
I call upon both federal and provincial governments to equitably support and promote Indigenous women’s roles in governance and leadership, and that the development of policies and procedures protect Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people against sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism within the political life. I am also calling on our allies to stand with the families and us as it is our collective responsibility to respond to this and ensure that the 231 recommendations are implemented.
Although the National Inquiry’s final report was released last June – we cannot let the memory of these lost women and girls fade. We have to keep this issue front and center. We need to ensure that we are breaking down the colonial structures that have been imposed on us and actively decolonizing and indigenizing laws and policies that are impacting our communities and sure that Indigenous women, girls and the 2SLGBTQQIA communities are safe and secure.
I encourage all to attend a vigil today. These vigils are an opportunity to come together and remember those we lost and not to give up hope for those who are still missing.”
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.
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