Nishnawbe Aski Nation demands inquiry into missing women

First Nation leaders hope a 24-hour drumming ceremony forces Ottawa to heed calls for a public inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.
Beginning on Mother’s Day, the NAN Women’s Council led a 24-hour ceremonial drumming, which they concluded Monday on Parliament Hill. (Nishnawbe Aski Nation)

Members of the Nishnawbe Aksi Nation hope a 24-hour drumming ceremony in Ottawa forces the government to listen to calls for a national public inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.

“The sound of our drums will send a message to the Prime Minster that we will not rest until this government commits to an inquiry to fully investigate these disappearances,” said Jackie Fletcher, NAN Women’s Council spokesperson.

The NAN Women’s Council led the drumming on Victoria Island on Mother’s Day.

“The homicide rate for our women and girls is shockingly higher than all other women in Canada, and it is shameful that our calls for action continue to fall on deaf ears when our sisters continue to be murdered and disappear without a trace,” Fletcher said. 

On Monday, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and the NAN Women’s Council were joined by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, representatives of women’s organizations, First Nation and other political leaders as they wrapped up the 24-hour drumming session with a press conference on Parliament Hill.

“I am pleased to support the women of Nishnawbe Aski to honour our missing sisters and demand that the Government of Canada call a national public inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women,” Fiddler said.

“We agree on the need for a national plan of action to prevent further violence against Aboriginal women, but it is critical that a national inquiry be held to fully determine the scope of these disappearances and provide accountability and justice for the families.”

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