Lighting of ceremonial qulliq marks opening of MMIWG inquiry in Yellowknife
Public hearings scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday; community gatherings scheduled for the evenings
Families from across the N.W.T. will gather in Yellowknife this week to give testimony to the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
An opening ceremony is scheduled for Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. Public hearings start Tuesday, and run through Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. at the Chateau Nova hotel in Yellowknife.
Each day after the hearings, there will be theme nights at the Explorer Hotel to give participants and the public a chance to wind down.
According to Speakman, Tuesday will be Dene night with handgames and a drum dance, Wednesday will be Inuit night with a fashion show and throatsinging. Thursday will be a Métis night, including jigging and square dancing.
The Explorer Hotel events start each evening at 6 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend the hearings and events.
Families who didn't pre-register can still come and give their statements privately to a hearing representative from Tuesday to Thursday.
- MMMIWG in Yellowknife | 'My mother didn't die for nothing,' says Inuvik woman ahead of Yellowknife MMIWG inquiry
Qulliq lighting at the opening ceremony
The opening ceremony Monday will include the "lighting of the sacred qulliq," a traditional Inuit soapstone lamp. During the inquiry, the qulliq represents the strength and tenderness of Inuit women, according to the inquiry website.
After the qulliq is lighted, N.W.T. leaders and inquiry commissioners will give remarks followed by a community dinner.
As well, the Native Women's Association of the NWT will unveil its collection of beaded hearts, made by people across the territory.
"We're hoping people will come," said Speakman.
"The beaded hearts show how many people care, how many people are thinking about the missing and murdered aboriginal women, and at the end of the day, it's about the families — that they're not forgotten."
Speakman said there are "lots" of beaded hearts in the collection — she wasn't able to count them all.
Inquiry expected to release report in November
The inquiry's commissioners are expected to use information gathered at hearings across Canada to identify why Indigenous women and girls are five times more likely to die of violence than other Canadian women.
The inquiry will release a report that investigates the causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. It will also make recommendations to remove the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls, as well as recommendations for ways to honour victims of violence. The report is expected to be released before Nov. 1.
Follow CBC's coverage of the inquiry all week on CBCNorth.