by James Murray
WINNIPEG - First Nations leaders in Manitoba are calling the federal government on what the are stating is a double standard. Today, in Ottawa, as First Nations groups gather to remember and honour missing and murdered Aboriginal women, Parliament will be holding an emergency debate on kidnapped girls in Nigeria.
The NAN Women’s Council have been honouring the 1,186 missing and murdered women with a twenty-four hour Sacred Gathering of Drums ceremony.
The vigil will shift to Parliament hill at 10 this morning. In response to the fast action on the part of Canada to address the kidnapped and still missing Nigerian school girls by a terrorist organization, Grand Chief Terry Nelson is calling for immediate and meaningful action by the government of Canada on the 1200 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
Grand Chief Nelson states, “It is important to address human rights injustices and atrocities that occur in the international realm.
I support international efforts to bring the abducted Nigerian girls home. However I must draw attention to the fact that Canada has acted quickly to support that effort and yet refuses to heed the call of many for a National Inquiry on our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Canada’s intention to support Nigeria in the House of Commons on Wednesday and told journalists, “…if it’s necessary, we will move heaven and earth to get the support to find these young girls as soon as possible.”
This news coincides with the release of new information by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson on the numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls – 1026 murder cases and 160 missing person cases.
Grand Chief Nelson commented on Canada’s refusal to launch a public inquiry; “Inquiries are expensive but they are often needed to spur real, meaningful and system-wide change. Expensive does not mean that they should not take place.
Are the indigenous women and children who have been murdered or are missing here in Canada somehow less important than other women and children?”
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 33 First Nations with a combined population of 72,000. Most have high unemployment rates ranging between 60 to 95%.
The plight of native women forced to live in abject poverty creates an unsafe environment with little options for them.