Inquiry gives hope to family of missing Yellowknife woman

A mother in Yellowknife hopes Canada's inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women will help her find closure.

Others decry lack of northern representation on commission for missing, murdered Indigenous women

Kathy Meyer holding photos of her daughter Angela, who disappeared in Yellowknife six years ago. (Kate Kyle/CBC)

A mother in Yellowknife hopes Canada's inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women will help her find closure.

Kathy Meyer's daughter Angela vanished from their home in Yellowknife nearly six years ago. She says the pain is still raw, and she still looks for Angela on the city's streets.

"Where are you? Sometimes I want to yell out, 'Come home.'"

But Meyer says the national inquiry brings the family new hope. It was announced this week that the work will begin Sept. 1, with five commissioners at the helm of the inquiry.

"I really, really hope that they will listen to everyone's stories and not to rush through. But I hope they insist that the cases be solved," Meyer said.

"Just find her is all that we want."

The inquiry will examine the root causes of disproportionate violence facing Indigenous women and girls, but cold cases won't be reopened through the justice system.

Regardless, Meyer intends to share her story with the commissioners. She said taking part in the inquiry will help her healing journey.

"When we get together with other families that are in the same situation… it's very comforting."

Photos of Angela Meyer. She disappeared from her family's home in 2010, after stepping outside for a cigarette. (CBC)

Lack of northern representation

Some organizations in the North say the commission lacks northern representation.

Pauktuutit, the national Inuit women's group, has decried the lack of Inuk commissioners, and the Native Women's Association of the NWT has similar concerns.

"It doesn't represent culturally the people of the N.W.T. That's a concern," said Alisa Praamsma, the N.W.T. group's executive director.

"But at the same time these people each have quite a bit of experience in their field. I'm sure that will be valuable."

Praamsma says there's also been a lack of communication between the federal government and the territory in the lead up to the inquiry.

She's hoping the commissioners will recommend the creation of sub-groups in the regions.

The government has announced $16.17 million over four years to create family information liaison units in each province and territory.

Yukon welcomes announcement

'Time is of the essence,' said Elaine Taylor, Yukon’s minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate. 'Work will be fully underway in less than a month.'
Elaine Taylor, Yukon's minister responsible for the Women's Directorate, said she's looking forward to getting more information from the federal government.

"Work will be fully underway in less than a month," Taylor said. "Time is of the essence."

"I'm just really happy that it is fully underway right now. We appreciated the opportunity for input into the design of this national inquiry," she said.

"We will be engaged with the federal government in the days to come on more of the details."

With files from Kate Kyle and Cheryl Kawaja