The federal government last week announced the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Mandate of the commission is to examine and report on the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience and their greater vulnerability to that violence by looking for patterns and underlying factors that explain why higher levels of violence occur. The work of the commission follows the work that resulted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and the Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in British Columbia.
One criticism of the commission is that it will only be looking at cases that have been categorized by authorities to constitute foul play. There are many, many cases in which the police have determined the death or disappearance of the Indigenous Woman was not a result of foul play, and the families of the women disagree. Excluding those cases from scrutiny will prevent any answers from being found for these families and also may skew the results and recommendations that the commission makes. However the work of the Inquiry is a step in the right direction in terms of identifying why violence against Indigenous women is so prevalent and making steps towards changing that reality.