(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – August 3, 2016)BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson stood with the families of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in BC as the Federal Government made its announcement today regarding the National Inquiry. The Federal Government announced the terms of reference for the Inquiry and identified the five commissioners that will lead this $53.86 million Inquiry into 2018. The Inquiry will look at the high number of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls in Canada and seeks to identify and examine the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls to make recommendations for action.

“As I have stated previously, I am insisting that the government ensures that there is continued and meaningful engagement with family members and survivors as the Inquiry rolls out. It must be a process that is transparent and inclusive and one which investigates the core issues raised by the families.  I am encouraged by the announcement by the federal government and am hopeful that as the Inquiry unfolds, we will witness full Provincial and Territorial involvement, and the ability to address incidences of racism and violence within policing and government institutions,” stated BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson.

The Terms of Reference provides an opportunity for the creation of regional advisory committees.  “As the Regional Chief for the BC Assembly of First Nations, I am prepared to work with the families and the Inquiry to set up a BC Advisory Committee.  I want to make certain that the families have the opportunity to meaningfully and fully participate in the Inquiry,” stated BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson.

“We need to stand united as peoples and organizations.  We are committed to working with the commissioners and working to implement the recommendations.  Ending violence against Indigenous women and girls and ensuring their safety and security is the goal,” concluded BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson. “The tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is a national crisis and an international shame. Our stolen sisters, their families and First Nations deserve better. My hope is that the National Inquiry will be a turning point in achieving justice for our stolen sisters. Together, we must work towards reconciliation and to a safer, more respectful country for First Nations and all Canadians.  I will continue to stand in unity with Indigenous women in BC and seek justice for our First Nations and our families.”