British Columbia

Missing women's inquiry should include aboriginal men, says Ernie Crey

UBC Okanagan researchers found aboriginal men account for about 71 per cent of aboriginal homicide victims

UBC Okanagan researchers found aboriginal men account for 71 per cent of aboriginal homicide victims

The majority of B.C.'s aboriginal people live in cities now, and the Northwest Indigenous Council plans to lobby all levels of government for them, spokesperson Ernie Crey said. (Wawmeesh Hamilton)

Missing and murdered indigenous men and boys should be part of a national inquiry into Canada's missing and murdered women, says a First Nations leader.

Ernie Crey, the chief councillor of the Cheam First Nation in B.C., is calling on those who believe that the inquiry should be expanded to make their voices heard in Ottawa — as the government is still in the early days of consulting with stakeholder groups.

According to statistics gathered by UBC Okanagan professor Adam Jones and his research assistant, Penny Handley, of approximately 2,500 aboriginal people who were murdered in Canada between 1982 and 2011, 71 per cent were male.

Crey said he recognizes that adding this element to the inquiry "might make it an enormous challenge," but said the statistics are undeniable.

"We simply can't turn our backs on this," Crey told On the Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Lost own brother

"It has to be put in the hands of government as to how they might handle it and how they might respond to it, because the inquiry that's going to take place around women is going to be an enormous undertaking unto itself, and this would add a whole new dimension to it. But it's an important one."

It's a very personal issue for Crey as well — his own brother Gordon was murdered in the early 1970s.

"My brother's death occurred in suspicious circumstances, and I never did get any report from the police," he said.

"Many of us have lost a father or a brother or the like, and many of them have died in mysterious circumstances or suspicious circumstances, or the people responsible for the death of aboriginal men or boys have received light sentences."

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Ernie Crey calls for MMIW inquiry to also include missing and and murdered indigenous men and boys