A government inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women has concluded in a report released on Monday, that the death in Canada of more than 1,000 aboriginal women and girls in recent decades was a national genocide,.
The 1,200-page report which resulted from an inquiry launched by Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2016 blamed the violence on long-standing discrimination against indigenous people and Canada’s failure to protect them.
It also made sweeping recommendations to prevent future violence against indigenous women.
Testimonies from family members
The inquiry which was beset by delays and staff resignations, opened painful wounds as it heard testimonies from 468 family members of missing or murdered women.
“This colonialism, this discrimination and this genocide explains the high rates of violence against indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people,” the chief commissioner of the inquiry, Marion Buller, said at the ceremony held to present the report.
The 2SLGBTQQIA group refers to two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual people.
Absolute paradigm shifts
“An absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism in Canadian society. And this paradigm shift must come from all levels of government and public institutions,” Buller said.
The final report called “Reclaiming Power and Place,” was presented during an often emotional ceremony in Gatineau, Quebec, near the Canadian capital.
It was attended by some of the hundreds of family members of those missing or murdered, and by government officials including Trudeau.
Its conclusions were first reported last week by Canadian media after the report was leaked.
While aboriginal people account for only about four percent of Canada’s population, they on average suffer from higher rates of crime, poverty and addiction.