MMIWG survey results released

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Yesterday, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization released the results of its survey regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/10/2021 (311 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Yesterday, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization released the results of its survey regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The organization launched an anonymous survey in May to identify First Nations’ priorities about the final report of the national inquiry into MMIWG and the report’s 231 calls for justice.

The results were released during the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People.

File Southern Chiefs' Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, along with other Southern Chiefs’ Organization member Chiefs, speaks to media about the Wet'suwet'en blockades at the Southern Chiefs’ Organization office in Winnipeg on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. For Sol story. Winnipeg Free Press 2019.

“It’s about creating opportunities for our societies. It’s about the well-being of our women who are affected most through the social-economic status of Indigenous people,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “It’s through different policies that have created a society that devalues our women. They are targeted. They’re not simply vulnerable — they’re targeted victims.”

When asked about their relationship to the issue, more than 79 per cent of respondents said they were related to, or a friend of, a missing or murdered Indigenous woman, girl or person.

Survey results indicated top priorities for respondents include: programs and services to restore, reclaim and revitalize culture; funding for First Nations-led health and wellness services; mental health, addictions and trauma services for incarcerated people; support for First Nation families and communities to keep children in their homes and communities instead of the child welfare system; First Nations-led shelters, safe spaces, transition houses, second-stage housing and services; education on the historical and current laws, policies, practices; and addressing the genocide against First Nation peoples.

Less than 50 per cent of participants have seen progress on any of the actions to be taken by Canadians since the release of the calls for justice two years ago, the survey determined.

“More needs to be done,” Daniels said.

First Nations need increased oversight in regards to these calls to justice, greater policies are necessary, and people need to understand the systemic impacts that have led to the MMIWG crisis in Canada to create real change, he said.

“We’re actually trying to change that narrative and we need the police force and the justice system to be [held] accountable. They can’t be felt like they’re safe from not ensuring Indigenous women are prioritized in investigations,” Daniels said.

Partnerships can lead to stronger relationships and in turn, cultivate trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, he added, and changes should also involve the reallocation of resources to better support First Nations.

“You have to ensure that the money being allocated into First Nations is being used properly,” Daniels said. “That’s the other side of accountability of government — you have to make sure those resources are actually going to create a meaningful impact on the ground.”

The process of tackling these initiatives and partnerships has been slow, he said, and he would like to see them better prioritized in the country. These changes are essential because the MMIWG crisis is growing, fuelled by poverty and COVID-19, causing distress, barriers, hopelessness and fracturing of families.

“We need to change society’s values and perspectives as it relates to all citizens, and have an equal opportunity for all of them,” Daniels said. “Try to understand, we all come from different backgrounds, but we’re not all the same. We just need to create a great deal of respect among citizens. We all have a sacred place in this world.”

The survey results can be viewed online at scoinc.mb.ca/.

» ckemp@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp

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