Inuit group asks Carolyn Bennett for more time to prepare for MMIW meeting

The national Inuit women's group has asked the federal minister of Indigenous Affairs to give Nunavut more time to prepare for the pre-inquiry meetings into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

'They need to have interpreters or support staff that speak the dialect of the families,' says Pauktuutit

'More than a week is what we’re asking because arranging flights up North is not that easy,' says Rebecca Kudloo, president of the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. (Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada)

The national Inuit women's group has asked the federal minister of Indigenous Affairs to give Nunavut more time to prepare for the pre-inquiry meetings into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Carolyn Bennett has set Jan. 29 as a tentative date for the pre-inquiry sessions in Iqaluit. The date was selected to allow Nunavut groups to have more time to prepare.

The minister arrives in Whitehorse today to hold pre-inquiry engagements with the family members of missing and murdered indigenous women, and she hosted similar sessions in Yellowknife on Friday. A date for the meeting in Nunavut has not been announced.

"I'm hoping that we will be given enough time before the Iqaluit pre-consultation to notify families who want to be there," said Rebecca Kudloo, president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

Kudloo said she wants to avoid a situation similar to what Yukon faced of not having enough time to prepare for the meetings.

"More than a week is what we're asking because arranging flights up North is not that easy," said Kudloo.

She said one essential factor for these sessions is support services for the families who participate in the meetings.

"We stressed that when they come in they need to have interpreters or support staff that speak the dialect of the families," said Kudloo.

She said when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came to her community of Baker Lake, the councillors who accompanied the group did not speak Inuktitut.

Kudloo said some work also needs to be done to help educate families on what an inquiry will entail. Pauktuutit is working on bringing impacted families together for a meeting in Ottawa in February to discuss what they would like to get out of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

As many Inuit are survivors of residential schools, Kudloo said she understands why some people have concerns over the federal government leading the inquiry.

"Since it's started it's important for us to fully participate in the discussions with the government as to how we would like to see this," added Kudloo.