(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC and Heiltsuk Territory, Bella Bella, BC) – The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) joins with families in calling for justice and honouring the lives of loved ones who have been murdered or gone missing. Violence against Indigenous women, girls, 2S, (Two-Spirit) and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual people (LGBTQQIA+) is unacceptable. More must be done to prevent and respond to this decades-long crisis, which uniquely and deeply affects Indigenous peoples.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls affirmed that the violence Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people experience amounts to genocide. Unfortunately, the gravity of this finding has not been matched with sufficient action by governments and institutions who hold power to effect systemic change in partnership with Indigenous people.
BCAFN is calling for all governments to work in collaboration for the full implementation of the Calls for Justice, and to take urgent action on establishing a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson and a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal, establishing wraparound supports for families and survivors, and reforming policing.
BCAFN’s What We Heard Report and the AFN’s report, Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice affirmed the importance of frameworks for supporting families and survivors, healing, and prevention; and systemic changes to advance justice, human security, health and wellness, and culture.
Regional Chief Terry Teegee stated, “Strategic, concrete, and well-resourced action is sorely needed. Families continue to be under-supported in very difficult circumstances. Police continue to neglect and mishandle missing persons cases. Colonial laws and policies continue to create systemic inequality in our communities. The lack of change we have seen over the past several years should be of great concern to all members of our society.”
Louisa Housty-Jones stated, “I want to lift-up and acknowledge all those who’s loved one has been murdered or gone missing. This is a tragedy that no one should have to experience. Your advocacy and strength in sharing your truths has not gone unnoticed, and you are not alone in your work for justice and a future in which all Indigenous women and gender-diverse people are safe and get to experience their lives to the full.”