FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) Pauktuutit shares the many increasing public concerns that are currently being expressed about the upcoming National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Today, Pauktuutit President Rebecca Kudloo, has released this public statement.
Pauktuutit’s report on our inquiry pre-consultation meeting and our recommendations on the scope, mandate and process clearly state that ideally we would like two Inuit commissioners – one woman and one man. If there is to be only one Inuk commissioner it should be a woman. It was our expectation from the beginning that we would have an Inuk commissioner and that our recommendations to the federal government would be honoured.
I was personally given the names of the individuals who were to be appointed as commissioners for the national inquiry by the federal government in late June. Since that time the Pauktuutit Executive Committee and I have done everything we could to ensure that one of the five commissioners would be an Inuk woman. I am sorry to say that we have not been successful and as of today, it is my understanding that not one of the five commissioners will be an Inuk woman.
I have also been saddened by the fact that we have not been able to communicate any information or updates about the national inquiry to Inuit, and especially the family members who have put their trust in us. I apologize if you feel we have let you down.
We have worked diligently as diplomats and negotiators, as is our way as Inuit. We have been feeling increasing pressure from many Inuit to update them on the inquiry. We now feel we have no choice but to make a public statement about our concerns as a national indigenous women’s organization and on behalf of all Inuit women in Canada. This is not about individuals and this is not in any way personal. For this inquiry to be of maximum benefit for Inuit it must be led by indigenous women including us as Inuit women. To me, this is a fundamental matter of principle, equality and trust.
As Inuit women, most of us live in regions with the highest rates of violence in the country. I cannot understand how in 2016 we are still not being included in our own right as full participants in these historic opportunities. To us, this does not feel like it is 2016 for all women in Canada. When the new government was elected last fall, I was very hopeful for the first time in many years. I then became very frustrated as we have not yet established a new relationship with the federal government that is rooted in reconciliation and gender equality. Pauktuutit has been reaching out and we are still hopeful that we can find a way to work together and move forward.
Pauktuutit is here to work with the federal government and others. We remain committed to helping make this inquiry meaningful for Inuit women and girls as well as our families who have suffered such profound losses.
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