Nfld. & Labrador

Mother of murdered Labrador woman remains optimistic of national inquiry, despite setbacks

The mother of a murdered woman says she is hopeful the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls will continue despite setbacks.

Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has had several resignations since February

Deidre Marie Michelin, the daughter of Charlotte Wolfrey, was killed in 1993 in Rigolet. The mother of four had tried to call police, her family say, but the nearest detachment was in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (Supplied by Michelin family)

A member of the family advisory circle for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is hopeful the inquiry will continue and bring about healing, despite recent setbacks.

Since February, several staff members — including one of five commissioners and the executive director — have resigned.

The departures aren't reason to call off the inquiry, according to Charlotte Wolfrey, whose 21-year-old daughter, Deidre Marie Michelin, was shot and killed by her partner in 1993, in a murder-suicide in Rigolet.

"I still support the inquiry going forward," Wolfrey told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

I had a daughter that was murdered in 1993, so it's at the heart of all the work that I've been a part of.- Charlotte Wolfrey

"I mean, everything is not going to go your way all the time, and I really think that it is some growing pains and it's part of the process."

One problem Wolfrey identified with the inquiry is the timeline. 

"Right from the get-go, people said two years is not enough time," she said.

"If you look at what has happened in the first 10 months, we've had one hearing and that's all … the rest was setting up offices and getting people situated and getting staff and stuff like that."

Charlotte Woolfrey (second from right) is on the family advisory circle for the MMIWG. (Twitter/Stephen Hendrie)

Staring over would be a waste of 10 months, said Wolfrey, who is on the national family advisory circle.

"I had a daughter that was murdered in 1993, so it's at the heart of all the work that I've been a part of for the last 25 years," she said.

Inquiry can bring healing

While Wolfrey said she has seen some improvement since her daughter's death — like the addition of local police services — she's hoping the inquiry will bring attention to the overall lack of services in Nunatsiavut.

Despite the many issues the inquiry has seen, Wolfrey is staying patient and references the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which reported the history and legacy of Canada's residential school system.

"Although the Truth and Reconciliation Commission wasn't absolutely perfect, I think that they did a lot of good. People did a lot of healing from the work that they did, and that's what I'm hoping too will be from this inquiry," she said.

"People will at least have a chance to think that their loved one is not dead and forgotten forever or missing and forgotten forever. At least they can bring their stories out and talk about the trauma involved ... and I think it'll help people in a healing process."

With files from Labrador Morning