Whitehorse Daily Star

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WORKING TOGETHER – Elaine Taylor, Doris Bill, Adeline Webber, Doris Anderson and Krista Reid are seen left to right at this morning’s news conference.

Roundtable set on missing, murdered women

The Yukon will hold a regional roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women next February.

By Pierre Chauvin on October 21, 2015

The Yukon will hold a regional roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women next February.

The announcement came this morning at a joint press conference involving the Yukon government, representatives from First Nations and aboriginal women’s groups.

Hosting the event was a recommendation from this year’s roundtable in Ottawa.

The Yukon had sent a delegation.

A family gathering will also be hosted on Dec. 12 in Whitehorse for First Nations families who have lost relatives to share their stories.

“The families deserve answers, concrete solutions and preventable measures,” Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill told the press conference.

Action at the national level is also needed, she added.

“That action will be limited if the federal government does not get on board.”

Many noted at the press conferences that the change in federal government brings hopes that an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women will be called.

“Given our recent federal election, I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing from our prime minister-designate (Justin Trudeau),” said Bill.

“With the change of government on Monday evening, we welcome the opportunity to engage with Canada on the matter of a national inquiry and how we can and must work collectively to address this national tragedy,” said Elaine Taylor, the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate.

The Yukon Legislative Assembly unanimously approved a motion calling for a national inquiry in 2013, she added.

Despite repeated calls, Prime Minister Stephen Harper consistently refused to take action on an inquiry during his 2006-15 terms in office.

In 2014, he said the issue shouldn’t be viewed as “sociological phenomenon” but simply as crimes.

But on Tuesday, Trudeau said his government would be moving forward “quickly” when asked about calling a national inquiry.

Representatives from the Yukon government, the territory’s 14 First Nations, Yukon aboriginal women’s groups, the communities and even the RCMP will be at the roundtable.

“Our hope is that families of missing and murdered indigenous women are acknowledged and honoured and their voices are meaningfully reflected at the Yukon roundtable and integrated with the current and future actions,” said Taylor.

The invitation has also been extended to First Nations in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, Taylor said.

The latest statistics from the RCMP show more than 1,181 murdered and missing aboriginal women between 1980 and 2012.

“In Yukon, as in many areas in the country, we know sadly first-hand the tragic scope of this issue,” Taylor said.

There are 39 known cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in the territory, statistics Bill called “absolutely unacceptable.

“At a national level, the facts remain, there has been little accomplished,” she said.

The gathering and the roundtables are about putting the families and the victims first, said Doris Anderson, the president of the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council.

“These indigenous women and girls who have brought us together, have become leaders of a cause they gave their lives for,” she said.

“Let these events acknowledge that their stories are important and we will remain committed until their call for justice is answered.”

Those two events are not only about raising awareness but also providing healing, said Krista Reid, president of the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle.

She is organizing the family gathering.

“Every family member who has lost a loved one, we’re encouraging you to join us at the family gathering,” she said.

“We need to understand what you’re going through. We need to be aware of what it was you needed from the community in your time of grief.”

An emotional Reid added that being a mother herself, she couldn’t imagine the grief families endured after losing relatives, in particular, daughters.

Reid reminded the audience these two events are part of a historic context – the movement supporting the missing and murdered indigenous women started more than than 30 years ago in Vancouver.

“Now we’re just catching up,” she said.

Families who want to attend the gathering can contact event co-ordinator, Katie Johnson, at 332-5283.

While observers won’t be allowed, professional counsellors and elders will be available during the gathering.

Comments (16)

Up 21 Down 9

north_of_60 on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:01 am

People should stop making excuses and ask themselves why their kids drop out of school, join gangs, do drugs and crimes to buy them, and generally engage in risky behavior until they finally leave home, go 'missing', or commit suicide. The problems begin at home; and that's where the solutions can be found.

Up 18 Down 6

YukonMax on Oct 24, 2015 at 11:42 am

A former non native employee of mine also disapeared on the Hwy of tears. She wasn't a stoner or a boozer and in my own view, she was more then capable of defending herself against anyone. I have a feeling that whomever is responsible, he, she, they, is involved has (have) some control and/or manipulated ongoing investigations. That would be a reason for the RCMP to move carefully.

Up 30 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Oct 24, 2015 at 9:05 am

Why do those who keep asking the same question expect a different answer? To quote another go-nowhere argument: “The science is settled” Additional investigations will not reveal very much of anything new or another culprit other than what has already been identified as the villains behind all the numerous and historic cases of incest, rape, kidnappings and murders of aboriginal women. Yes it is a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s time to take the next steps and deal with the problem rather than revisiting the evidence again and again hoping for a different outcome.
I can appreciate that first nations have been abused by others in the past and they could conveniently point their fingers and say- this was done to us by others. However this is an entirely different situation and perhaps that is what most are struggling with- there’s nobody else to accuse, and it is their problem to solve. I wish them every success and perhaps what's learned by dealing with this issue can be applied to reducing suicides among the first nation populations as well.

Up 16 Down 19

Me on Oct 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm

An inquiry would be an excellent start, to see why so many crimes are not solved efficiently. Many, but not all crimes against non-first nations are solved or taken seriously as soon as it is reported. We can all speculate why this same process is not occurring when First Nations people are reported missing. An inquiry would answer this? How can any of you say look in your back yard, when the police in Edmonton have issued a reward for a serial killer who is loose and they are finding bodies buried near Leduc. I'm sure this serial killer is the spouse of everyone of these women they have found. Get your frightened head out of your a.. They do need a strategy to address these issues. If it is gangs, serial killers, spouses, friends, then these people should be held accountable and these missing persons reports should be taken seriously from the start!

Up 12 Down 18

ICO on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:10 am

Why does it take a panel of all woman to get this started? I really hope that something can be done for all our sisters. I pray for peace for all involved who have lost these woman.

Up 15 Down 21

Josey Wales on Oct 23, 2015 at 8:08 am

Hey RSN...uumm?, I re-read my post that this Josey wrote, nary a spore of your allegation has a fiber of merit. Why is it you blow the race whistle so soon?
Oh yeah, "that pain" you refer too, on murdered kin...yup I do very unfortunately know.... DO as in I TOO experienced such pain.
Your absolute assumption that I know nothing of it, and that I'm a racist for putting forward facts is the poster tactic of someone indoctrinated in the victim industry.
I have a motivating force for the hobbies I have, and this absolute CRAP that those speaking facts, seeing reality, hating race based laws and chronic drumbeats of war for MMIW when you have brothers in the same situation.... are racists ... and guess what?
WE DO TOO, as in everybody "else" has been represented in the being murdered, missing arena of crime.
Justine's papa ensured it'll never end.

Not one word of my post is racist...nice dog whistle try though.

Up 26 Down 13

Sorry for your loss, Racism Solves Nothing on Oct 22, 2015 at 10:14 pm

I totally agree with Racism Solves Nothing. A lot of heartless people...If you look at the stats regarding First Nations women and death, as well as how investigations unfold regarding these crimes, like Racism Solves Nothing said, little is done (15 years). Robert Picton was able to prey on over 100 women, most of them FN, because of the way investigators turn a blind eye because 'that woman was at risk.' The teen who was killed last December, Brandi Vittrewka? House arrest until the trial--really? Glad I'm not the neighbour. Until Canada smartens the hell up, we are no better than third world countries in how we deal with FN women's murders and violence. It is RACIAL, it is disgusting, and these women need to be respected and valued as human beings, regardless of their lifestyles or trauma that many were born into. Shame on people who think it can continue the way it is. And I am truly sorry for your loss, Racism Solves Nothing. Hopefully under a rational government, we can move forward with a humanitarian based approach, with compassion, prevention and an investigation to find closure.

Up 24 Down 34

just Say'in on Oct 22, 2015 at 10:13 pm

@racism….. You have that totally backwards. To say that extra effort and extra Political Correctness should be given to a specific race and gender, is in fact the inequality of which you speak. Do whites matter less? Do men matter less? As a percentage there are many times more unsolved homicides in males. Should there be an inquiry? Get a grip.

Up 26 Down 6

Racism Solves Nothing on Oct 22, 2015 at 5:05 pm

June is right on. All people are JUST as important, regardless of color or gender. The Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Persons perhaps?

The inquiry should be expanded to include ALL victims as the next phase. Focus on the justice end of things like sentencing, prevention and healing. To automatically dismiss something that could be molded into something more inclusive, so all families can have closure, with those resources without taking a different look is just useless to the conversation.

A lot of harshness here though as I am first nation and I pray for everyone including angry racists.

Up 50 Down 12

Racism Solves Nothing on Oct 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

A lot of heartlessness here. My girlfriend was murdered when she was 15. Her father found her battered, naked body and did not know it was her as she was unrecognizable. That family probably fits ol' Josey's stereotypes now. Like a lot of human beings who have gone through that kind of trauma things have gone downhill.
People in our community who knew helped and provided information. A lot of mothers aren't that lucky Josey. I really pray that you or others like you NEVER go through this pain.
That guy was caught, charged, and sentenced to 15 years for rape and murder! 15 yrs? Parole in 10. If she was not who she was and lived where she did her family would have justice.
Idiots using stories like this to justify their values, reinforces why their views should be disregarded and why the inquiry should happen.
I truly pray for all those families of the victims and the heartless Trolls who prey on their pain.

Up 37 Down 15

June Jackson on Oct 22, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I have opposed the expenditure of money for this inquiry since FN began pushing for it. There are numerous reports out; i have included links to the 2015 RCMP report and a Globe and Mail analysis. Please take time to read them.

"Parallel to the findings of the 2014 Overview in which most homicide victims had a previous relationship with the offender, the 2013 and 2014 RCMP data reveals that the offender was known to the victim in 100% of the solved homicides of Aboriginal women in RCMP jurisdictions, and in 93% of cases of solved homicides of non-Aboriginal women. Violence within family relationships is a key factor in homicides of women, and has prompted the RCMP to focus intervention and prevention efforts on familial and spousal violence."

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/abo-aut/mmaw-fada-eng.htm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rcmp-to-release-update-on-missing-murdered-aboriginal-women/article25033744/

All that being said..I feel sorry for the Asian Mom..the White Mom, the Black Mom, the Latino Mom whose daughter is missing or has been murdered. FN are insisting that all the resources be designated to them. Because its become politically incorrect to disagree with a FN governments are buckling under. I personally won't ever support an issue like this that is based on color. A white life, a Filipino life, a black life..any life has value. I would support an inquiry by some outside authority on the RCMP investigative techniques, hiring protocol ( yup..there's some pretty chubby cops driving around) policy and procedures.

Up 7 Down 17

thepanelshouldlistentovictims on Oct 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/sexual-assault-charges-laid-on-rcmp-officer-involving-child-1.2506698

http://620ckrm.com/ckrm-on-air/ckrm-local-news/9655-former-yorkton-mountie-sentenced-on-rape-charges

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rcmp-watchdog-to-investigate-torture-rape-allegations-1.1305822

Welcome to your investigating officers

Up 21 Down 30

moose101 a question on Oct 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm

The majority of crimes against first nations have never been solved. Kind of makes you wonder. This panel pushes for investigations into the deaths of aboriginal women; what about the men? They are killed at a much higher rate. If you just play the simple politics of it, stereotypes included
"Which group commonly interacts with Aboriginal men and women?"
Starlight tours come to mind?

Up 14 Down 10

Tins thorn on Oct 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm

I hate to point out the obvious...

Have you ever asked why there hasn't been a public inquest into missing aboriginal women?

Most cold case investigations are done outside the public eye to lessen the amount of pressure that a murderer feels. If they know there are people looking for them, or cases are being rehashed, the perpetrator is more likely to be cautious.

The plan for catching a murderer/predator is always the same. Let them think that the pressure is off and hope they give up a major clue.
Look at the recent number of RCMP being convicted for crimes dating back to the 80's and 90's.

Tubman, Seybold, Vitrekwa or Rafferty; murders involving non trained individuals are usually solved quickly.

The murder of aboriginal women is a horrible crime ... but the investigations need to be conducted silently and without the populism + media attention of a panel. People should recognize that these deaths are being investigated; alerting the public isn't the best way to catch a murderer (for cold cases)...

So congratulations for bringing national attention to a problem that is researched everyday. Another 10 years of criminals acting in front of the public with poise, candour, and tact. While the public lambastes and demonizes those that are set on bringing these people to justice.

Up 32 Down 14

moose101 on Oct 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

I'll say what everyone else is thinking. Look in your own backyard if you want answers .

Up 23 Down 43

Josey Wales on Oct 22, 2015 at 6:34 am

Anyone think to ask their brothers & sisters, ya know...about their MMIW?
Seems the police have, hence a virtually identical solve ratio...as the regular less important folks.
Google "Excuse me, there is a Moose in the room"
Fits not the narrative trying to brainwash us with, as most things media wish to suppress.
Violence sucks, as do predating humans who use it as exercise....daily.
ALL...repeat ALL missing and murdered "PEOPLE" matter, regardless of whether one sits or stand whilst peeing or when they were alleged to have arrived.
....as the victim industry plugs along, growing like the bacteria it is each day.

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