National inquiry will show racism is alive and well in Canada, says Madahbee

AUNDECK OMNI KANING—While he is very happy that the federal government is going to conduct a national inquiry into murdered and missing women and girls in Canada, the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation also says the inquiry will demonstrate that racism is alive and well in Canada.

“Something is wrong with the picture when, only after seven years of pressure being put on the government by many groups and individuals, that an investigation is going to be carried out on missing and murdered women and girls in Canada,” stated Chief Patrick Madahbee, last week. “We have read and heard reports of police officers taking women-girls to the end of town and dumping them off on the side of the road in the middle of the winter, where they freeze to death, and of the seven young people found dead in Thunder Bay.”

“An inquiry will bring some closure for families of our murdered and missing indigenous women and girls,” said Chief Madahbee. “It will also show that racism is alive and well in Canada. Solutions need to be brought forward and we believe that public education and education in schools is one of the answers to this problem,” he told Anishinabek News in its December 8.

The Union of Ontario Indians has already had several public education initiatives in the areas of Indian Residential Schools and the  events surrounding Ipperwash.

“We have produced books, videos and booklets on events that have happened in our history,” Chief Madahbee told Anishinabek News. “We aren’t waiting for everyone else to teach our history, we went ahead and did it ourselves.”

Earlier this year, the Union of Ontario Indians Policy and Communications Department created the “We are all Treaty People” teachers kit that the Ontario curriculum that ties the Ontario curriculum to our history and the treaty relations,” the release notes.

“Education resources like the teachers kit bring about the discussion of the treaty relationship at an early age,” said Mr. Madahbee. “We are in the process of translating this resource into French, as well as producing a secondary school teacher’s resource that will talk about the relationship between indigenous peoples in Canada and settlers. We believe by having these conversations at an early age will help eliminate racism and give all Canadians a better understanding of our First Nations issues.”

“We need to get to the root of the factors that are the cause of the missing and murdered women and girls,” said Chief Madahbee.

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women issued the following statement on December 11 following the first meeting on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“Today we were humbled and grateful to meet personally with survivors, families and loved ones of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We listened to their stories and were deeply moved by their personal accounts of loss, violence and disappearance. These tragedies have taken a lasting toll on these individuals, their families and their communities. They are determined to seek justice and healing, and to make sure this doesn’t happen to other families.

“Their resilience and perseverance inspires us to do more to prevent violence, to raise awareness and to move forward together on the path to reconciliation,” the ministers said. “It is in this spirit of reconciliation that we have launched the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

“In the coming months, we will continue to meet, listen to and work together with survivors, families, loved ones, as well as with Indigenous organizations and communities, provinces and territories, front-line workers and experts to design an inquiry that will result in concrete action to end this national tragedy. We are determined to do this right for the survivors, their families and loved ones and to honour the spirits and memories of those we have lost and protect future generations.”