Violence still an issue, says Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief as MMIWG action plan delayed
Ottawa was to reveal strategy on June 3 to address issue of missing, murdered Indigenous women, girls
The Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Alvin Fiddler, is expressing his disappointment about the lack of attention being given to the recommendations of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).
"It seems as soon as the immediate media attention ceased, the Report was 'shelved,' just like we feared," Fiddler stated in a written release Wednesday.
The federal government was expected to release its action plan on June 3, the one- year anniversary of the delivery of the inquiry's final report on MMIWG. However, that response has been delayed while Ottawa deals with the COVID-19 crisis.
But the pandemic is part of the problem, said Fiddler, noting the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service is reporting an increase in the number of domestic violence calls it has received.
"The violence against Indigenous women and girls is still very much an issue and it should be a priority for all of us," he said.
The commission "should provide a road map for all of us to begin to address these important issues and we need both levels of government, in our case Ontario, to be onboard as well," Fiddler told CBC News.
The government is holding online meetings for other issues, and Fiddler believes the same could have, and should have been done for this action plan.
"While getting the National Action strategy 'right' is important, it cannot be the only goal," he stated.
"I cannot accept that in one year, there is nothing that we can all meaningfully act on. I am also concerned at the lack of communication from the federal government despite our efforts to engage on the work."
The final report of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls presented 231 calls for action including reforming the justice system and policing, making changes to the Indigenous child welfare system, eliminating gender discrimination and preserving Indigenous languages.