Indigenous

Sister of missing woman frustrated she can't testify at MMIWG inquiry because of missed registration

Eva Potts of Alexis First Nation, Alta. is upset that she missed the opportunity to participate in the Edmonton Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) inquiry public hearings.

Potts says inquiry could have done more to inform families about the registration date

Eva Potts's (right) sister, Misty (left), went missing in the winter of 2015.

Eva Potts of Alexis First Nation, Alta. is upset that she missed the opportunity to participate in the Edmonton Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) inquiry public hearings, and tell them about her sister.

Misty Potts went missing in March 2015 after moving home to Alberta from Manitoba. She was trying to recover from substance abuse at the time of her disappearance, and family were critical of the time it took police to react. Potts told CBC in June of 2015 police "didn't take it serious."

Potts wanted to participate in the MMIWG hearings in the hopes that it could help Misty's case move forward.

Potts said she knew they were coming, but she didn't know when. And says, with a busy life of being a wife, mother and student, it's hard to keep track of what was happening with the inquiry.

As a result Potts missed the registration process before the hearings along with the opportunity to participate in the public hearings and testify about her sister.

"[The inquiry] should have someone contacting us explaining it more in depth," said Eva.

Although she does acknowledge that inquiry officials made clear it was up to families to contact them to get involved, she still thinks they had a responsibility to do more.  

"It's sensitive. They can't be just like, 'we're going to do this but it's up to you guys if you want to get help'. Yes, that's true, but I think with this they gotta push it more. We are already an oppressed people facing a lot of injustice."

'I get up some days and I cry all the way to school … I never forget about her and never will- Eva Potts

Potts said she did receive an email from the Mayerthorpe RCMP, who are handling her sister's case, when she got home from school on Monday. They wrote to inform her about the hearings and apologized for the late notice.

Eva says that was a nice gesture, because the RCMP are under no obligation to keep families up to date on the inquiry. Unfortunately it was still too late for her to participate in the process. 

Keeping sister in the public's eye

Potts has worked hard to keep Misty's face in the public eye. After Misty went missing Potts sprung into action organizing ground searches, round dances, participating in various media interviews and pressuring RCMP to investigate any lead that would come up.

Potts travelled to Ottawa to talk about her sister's case at a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event last Spring and regularly participates in marching rallies to raise awareness.

"I love my sister. If me getting out there and talking is gonna bring more awareness or make someone go above and beyond for her case I'm gonna do that," she said.

Potts still goes through many ups and downs

"I get up some days and I cry all the way to school. I have to calm myself down and I have to take on the day … I never forget about her and never will," she said.

She's determined not to let the inquiry forget about Misty either. Potts plans to show up at the Edmonton Inn where the hearings are being held tomorrow afternoon in the hopes of meeting with a statement taker, saying that that way Misty's story will at least be included in the final inquiry report.

Ultimately, she wants justice for Misty and she hopes it might come through the help of the inquiry upon its completion.

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