The 18-month-long investigation into MMIWG concludes

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The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held its final hearings December 10-14 in Ottawa, where it received submissions and recommendations from institutions and special parties of official standing.

The commission heard 34 presentations from groups such as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Quebec Native Women and Amnesty International Canada.

The inquiry is compromised of four commissioners from across the country. Chief commissioner Marion Buller is a Cree from the Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan and was the first Indigenous woman appointed as a provincial court judge in British Columbia.

The inquiry is a legal, independent process and does not answer to any federal, provincial or Indigenous government. The committee’s mandate was to gather testimonies and evidence to better understand the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGTQQIA individuals.

The first part of the inquiry consisted of statement-gathering sessions with individuals and witnesses. This process began in May 2017 and the first hearing was held in Whitehorse, Yukon. For the past 18 months, the committee has traveled across Canada, met in 15 cities and towns, and heard testimony from over 1400 victims and family members.

The second and third phases of the inquest were dedicated to hearing presentations from experts and institutions. Nine multi-day hearings were held at different locations across the country. The commission heard from over 100 distinguished experts in areas such as Indigenous law, police policies and practices, and family and child welfare.

Chief commissioner Buller shared in a statement how appreciative the committee was to the parties that presented and for the invaluable role they played in the process.

“They have been with us every step of the way in our journey, helping to bring the devastating impact of this national tragedy into focus and to uncover the underlying systemic causes of violence,” Buller said.

“The conclusion of the truth-gathering process and closure of final submissions marks a defining milestone for the national inquiry in our mission to find, honour and give life to the truth.”

Now with all the testimonies heard and the final submissions received the commission’s task turns inward.

Commissioner Robinson said the extensive evidence they have collected gives the inquiry a “strong foundation upon which to identify actionable solutions and meaningful recommendations for change.”

The commissioners and staff now have the huge task of reviewing and analyzing the evidence gathered and to offer their findings and recommendations. The final report is to be submitted to the federal government by April 2019.

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