National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Lacks Inuk Commissioner

Wednesday August 3, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada expressed continued disappointment today at the lack of an Inuk Commissioner on the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Inquiry was launched this morning in Ottawa.

“This is 2016. Inuit did not have a commissioner on the Truth and Reconcilation Commission. We expected to have a voice to reflect us as one of the three constitutionally recognized Aboriginal Peoples in Canada on this National Commission of Inquiry,” said Pauktuutit President Rebecca Kudloo.

Pauktuutit has obtained wide support from Inuit across the Arctic, as well as groups on the issue of ensuring there is an Inuk as a commissioner.

“We recognize the historic importance of having all provinces and territories on board and that Inuktitut will be one of the working languages of the Inquiry,” said Meeka Otway, Pauktuutit’s Secretary Treasurer. Ms. Otway was in Ottawa for the official announcement and Pauktuutit’s press conference.

“Our hope is this Inquiry will visit the Arctic as Inuit define it. We call it Inuit Nunangat. It means our homeland. There are four distinct regions.  From east to west they are Nunatsiavut in Labrador, Nunavik in northern Quebec, Nunavut, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the NWT. There are 53 Inuit communities in those four regions, and only 15 of them have women’s shelters, said Kudloo.

“On the issue women’s shelters we will be pushing to ensure that much more funding for shelters be made available to our Inuit communities.

Pauktuutit has been working on the issue of violence against Inuit women for over three decades. The organization will seek to ensure that this inquiry will support its repeated calls for more shelters, more access to appropriate victim services, and work to improve the current social and economic issues and priorities of Inuit women, families and communities.

“The road to social justice on any issue is a challenging one. Our job as the national voice of Inuit women is to continually express our priorities and concerns with the government. I am confident we have done that. We have been critical, and we remain critical on the day of the launch. In 2016 it is not acceptable that the Inuit women of Canada do not have an Inuk as a commissioner.” concluded President Kudloo.

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For further information, please contact

Rose Mary Cooper, rmcoooper@pauktuutit.ca, 613-203-2355

Irina Appa, iappa@pauktuutit.ca, 613-864-5609