Sask. families may not have another chance to speak at Sask. MMIWG inquiry, says support group
Support services are providing people with a 'home away from home' environment, says Julie Kaye
Pre-interviews with the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls left some Saskatchewan family members wondering what type of supports, if any, would be involved once the formal inquiry commenced, according to one woman.
After the pre-interviews, some family members telling the stories of their loved ones went into crisis in some cases, said Julie Kaye, coordinator of support services for the Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre.
"[Those family members] had felt the inquiry had come, taken their stories, left and that they didn't have any supports there after that process," said Kaye.
Part of the concern was that the hearings are being held in Saskatoon but people are travelling from all over Sask. to attend. Kaye said some people don't know if there will be hearings in their own communities.
"Many are sharing in Saskatoon out of fear that this might be their only chance to share in Saskatchewan."
Kaye said a deal was struck between the inquiry and the friendship centre the evening before the inquiry commenced to provide support services for families sharing their stories.
She described the support services are providing people with a "home away from home" environment, including things like music, storytelling, elders, therapists and therapy dogs.
There are some areas for improvement, Kaye stressed, noting there isn't much space for children to express how the proceedings are affecting them.
She said families have told her a hotel is "not the most familiar or safe space" to discuss their stories.
"I say it's not ideal in the sense that so much of this came together at the last minute," Kaye said.
The inquiry will wrap up in Saskatoon on Thursday.
With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition