June 3, 2021, marks the second anniversary of the National Inquiry’s Final Report, Reclaiming Power and Place, and the release of the Calls for Justice, which constitute legal imperatives to uphold the human rights of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQQIA+) people.
The first iteration of the National Action Plan will be released tomorrow and will include contributions from each of the organizations comprising the Core Working Group. While much good work has been done, it remains incomplete, and there is an outstanding need for improvements to the process of developing and implementing the National Action Plan.
Throughout May 2021 the BCAFN collaborated with the Assembly of First Nation’s Women’s Council, co-facilitators Racelle Kooy and Chastity Davis-Alphonse, and regional partners to hold eight engagement sessions with survivors of violence and loved ones of those who have gone missing or been murdered, to gather recommendations for the implementation of the Calls for Justice in the BC region. The last session was held on June 1.
BCAFN Women’s Representative, Louisa Housty-Jones stated, “I am extremely grateful for all those who participated in this process and shared their insight and lived experience. We honour the courage, strength, and vulnerability that everyone brought to help move this important work forward. We honour the work that many are doing in their respective communities to end this tragedy, and those who were instrumental in helping ensure this process was safe and inclusive. We have taken to heart what has been shared with us and we will ensure that these important contributions from survivors and loved ones those who have gone missing or been murdered are integrated into the National Action Plan.”
Co-facilitators Racelle Kooy and Chastity Davis-Alphonse are currently working on a report based on these sessions. The report will be presented at two report-back sessions on June 18 and 19, 2021, and will be incorporated into the AFN Women’s Council’s contribution to the National Action Plan.
“What we have heard from this engagement process will inform BCAFN’s advocacy as we continue to seek strategic, coordinated, and well-resourced action for families and survivors in BC. Now is the time for action. The Calls for Justice cannot be allowed to sit on a shelf,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee.
BCAFN continues to call on federal and provincial governments to work with families, survivors, and Indigenous woman and 2SLGBTQQIA+ leaders to transform the current structures that are in place to develop and implement the National Action Plan. Up until this point there has not been meaningful partnership and representation from Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, survivors, families, loved ones, parties with standing, First Nations governments, and grassroots organizations in BC.
Going forward, the development and implementation of the National Action Plan must be more inclusive and representative, strategic, transparent, accessible, resourced, action and implementation-focused, and time bound, and must provide for the development of community-based action plans.
For more information regarding the recent engagement sessions co-hosted by the BCAFN and AFN Women’s Council visit https://events.bcafn.ca/regionalengagementdevelopnationalactionplanmmiwg2s/