By: Alexandra Paul
Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipegger Gail Nepinak was among the aboriginal women who presented a petition for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Canadian aboriginal women in the House of Commons today.
The latest call for a national inquiry was spearheaded by the Native Women’s Association of Canada and Nepinak flew to Ottawa to be part of the delegation.
The Harper Conservative government has rejected repeated calls for a inquiry into the hundreds of aboriginal women murdered or simply vanished across Canada, including a call from provincial governments in solidarity with the Native Women’s Association.
Nepinak told television cameras at a press conference in the nation’s capital, " I came all the way to Ottawa to fight for my sister Tanya."
It’s Nepinak's second attempt to fly to Ottawa to draw attention to the disappearance of her sister Tanya Nepinak, who vanished in September 2011. Her body has never been recovered despite an police search a year later at the Brady Landfill. In December Nepinak was denied a flight to Ottawa for lack of ID.
The petition today contained 23,000 signatures.
The event in Ottawa comes on the eve of a national day of marches to draw attention to pleas for justice. In Winnipeg on Valentine’s Day, relatives and supporters are expected to gather at the University of Winnipeg’s Convocation Hall at 6 p.m. and across the country similar marches are organized at the same time.
It’s the seventh annual year for the Women’s Memorial March.
Organizers for the march in Manitoba released statistics to show the latest updates on Missing and Murdered Women now stand at 824, with 115 victims in Manitoba, mostly from Winnipeg.