June 3, 2019
“Reclaiming Power and Place” The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Principles for Change
Our Calls for Justice are based on a solid foundation of evidence and law. Witnesses who shared their truths with us also explained that there are many important principles and ideas that must inform the implementation of any of the Calls for Justice in order for them to be effective and meaningful.
- A Focus on Substantive Equality and Human and Indigenous Rights
- A Decolonizing Approach
- Inclusion of Families and Survivors
- Self-Determined and Indigenous-Led Solutions and Services
- Recognizing Distinctions i.e. Self-Identification, Residency, Geography
- Cultural Safety.
- Trauma-Informed Approach
The significant, persistent, and deliberate pattern of systemic racial and gendered human rights and Indigenous rights violations and abuses – perpetuated historically and maintained today by the Canadian state, designed to displace Indigenous Peoples from their land, social structures, and governance and to eradicate their existence as Nations, communities, families, and individuals – is the cause of the disappearances, murders, and violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and is genocide. This colonialism, discrimination, and genocide explains the high rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
An absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism within Canadian society, and from all levels of government and public institutions. Ideologies and instruments of colonialism, racism, and misogyny, past and present, must be rejected.
Canada has signed and ratified many international declarations and treaties that affect Indigenous women’s, girls’, and 2SLGBTQQIA people’s rights, protection, security, and safety. Canada has failed to meaningfully implement the provisions of these legal instruments, including PPCG, ICESCR, ICCPR, UNCRC, CEDAW, and UNDRIP.
Further, the Canadian state has enacted domestic laws, including but not limited to section 35 of the Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and human rights legislation, to ensure the legal protection of human rights and Indigenous rights. All governments, including Indigenous governments, have an obligation to uphold and protect the Indigenous and human rights of all Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people as outlined in these laws. Canada has failed to protect these rights and to acknowledge and remedy the human rights violations and abuses that have been consistently perpetrated against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
There is no accessible and reliable mechanism within the Canadian state for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to seek recourse and remedies for the violations of their domestic and international human rights and Indigenous rights. The Canadian legal system fails to hold the state and state actors accountable for their failure to meet domestic and international human rights and Indigenous rights obligations.
The Canadian state has displaced Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people from their traditional roles in governance and leadership and continues to violate their political rights. This has been done through concerted efforts to destroy and replace Indigenous governance systems with colonial and patriarchal governance models, such as the Indian Act, and through the imposition of laws of general application throughout Canada. Indigenous governments or bands as established under the Indian Act or through local municipal governments do not have the full trust of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Indigenous bands and councils and community leadership who have authority through colonial law are generally seen as not representing all of the interests of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
We recognize self-determination and self-governance as fundamental Indigenous and human rights and a best practice. Indigenous self-determination and self-governance in all areas of Indigenous society are required to properly serve and protect Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This is particularly true in the delivery of services.
Efforts by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to be self-determining face significant barriers. Many Indigenous women’s advocacy organizations and grassroots organizations engaging in essential work to support survivors of violence and families of missing or lost loved ones, and working toward restoring safety, are underfunded and under supported by current funding formulas and systems.
Temporary and deficit-based approaches do not increase capacity for self-determination or self-governance, and fail to adequately provide protection and safety, as well as substantive equality. Short-term or project-based funding models in service areas are not sustainable, and represent a violation of inherent rights to self-governance and a failure to provide funding on a needs-based approach, equitably, substantively, and stably.