More than 600 indigenous women in Canada are believed to have gone missing or been murdered in recent years. The slowness of governments to act and the lack of progress where governments have acted have spurred Manitoba’s aboriginal organizations to demand full-scale provincial and national inquiries.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Southern Chiefs Organization have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging that he hold a national inquiry that would look at all aspects of the issue.
The Chiefs have sent a parallel request to Eric Robinson, Deputy Premier of Manitoba and Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. Both letters are available on the web site of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
So far, Manitoba’s and Canada’s governments have shown no interest in public inquiries. Manitoba’s Justice Minister, Andrew Swan, claims he does not support an inquiry because it could “get in the way of a criminal investigation” that led to the arrest of Shawn Cameron Lamb on charges of killing three aboriginal women in Winnipeg.
The Chiefs hope that will change if their efforts to have the United Nations become involved bear fruit. Says MKO Grand Chief David Harper, “The province will not inspect itself, Canada will not inspect itself . . . We’re going to the United Nations.”
The AMC, MKO and SCO held a rally in Winnipeg on July 11, 2012. Several hundred Winnipeggers marched from the Forks National Historic Site to the TD Centre near the corner of Portage and Main in support.
Here is some of the video I shot at this event. Featured in this video clip are Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, respected community elder Mae Louise Campbell and David Harper, Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak.
In this clip, Winnipeg City Councillor Ross Eadie makes an impassioned plea for justice for Aboriginal People, declaring “We are all Treaty People!”