Canada’s Genocide Part 4 (Final)

I​n the last three postings in this series, we covered the findings on specific themes from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In this final installment, we discuss the Calls for Justice. The Calls for Justice begin by outlining four overarching findings. These are the truths that make the findings we covered in earlier posts interconnected. These overarching findings are what led to the violence and genocide against indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

The first overarching finding is a deliberate pattern of human and indigenous rights violations and abuses. These violations are based on race and gender. This pattern is the cause of the disappearance, violence and murders of indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The inquiry flatly calls this genocide.

Secondly, the report points to the body of human rights treaties and declarations signed by the Government of Canada. It also mentions the Canadian Constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other human rights legislation. The government has a duty to uphold human rights as defined these instruments. As of now, Canada has no effective means for indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people to remedy violations of their rights.

In its third overarching finding, the inquiry found that the Canadian state has taken away the traditional place that indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people held as leaders in their communities. The government replaced the old ways of governing with colonial systems. Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA do not fully trust these systems. They don’t feel that they represent indigenous interests.

Fourthly, the report finds that self-determination and self-government are both indigenous rights and best practices. None of the Calls for Justice can succeed if self-determination and self-government are ignored. Current approaches tend to be short-term, temporary and project based. Self-government has to be stable and sustainable.

The report includes 231 Calls for Justice. This is not the forum to discuss each one in detail. Even so, we can give readers a sense of what the inquiry calls for.

The first group of Calls for Justice is for all governments. It begins with Human and Indigenous Rights and Governmental Obligations. It requires a National Action Plan and calls for governments to obey all relevant human rights instruments. Governments must include the full participation of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The inquiry calls for governments to create a position called the National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson. It also calls for a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal.

The Calls for Justice for all governments go on to deal with culture. The inquiry makes the point that indigenous people have the inherent and constitutional right to support and protect their languages and cultures. Governments must recognize indigenous languages as official languages, with the same status as English and French. Governments are to make sure that Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people have access to their cultures so that they can reclaim their identities.

The next set of Calls for Justice for all governments are about health and wellness. Indigenous communities deserve the same local health services as everyone else. This is important because the lack of health services is what forces indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people away from the support of their communities and cultures.

The fourth set of Calls for Justice for all governments discuss human security. The inquiry calls on all governments to upgrade community infrastructure. All governments must make sure that Indigenous Peoples have access to safe housing, clean drinking water, and adequate food. Communities have the right to make their own decisions about economic development. The inquiry calls for a guaranteed annual livable income for all Canadians.

The last group of Calls for Justice for all governments concern justice. They begin by reminding governments of the recommendations that panels have already made on this topic. These include the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, A Report on Aboriginal People and Criminal Justice in Canada and others. Laws about domestic violence need to change to include the feminist perspectives of indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Indigenous policing services need to be empowered, upgraded and reformed.

The Calls for Justice also speak to specific groups. These include the media, health care providers, transportation providers, the hospitality industry, police, lawyers, teachers, social workers, resource industries and correctional services.

The final set of Calls for Justice is for all Canadians. Canadians are called upon to speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. We are to learn our local indigenous history to support decolonization. We should become allies of indigenous people. This means more than merely tolerance. It means breaking down barriers and supporting others. It also means speaking out against all forms of prejudice. We need to encourage others to do the same,

The Calls for Justice conclude by calling on us all to hold our governments accountable for implementing the Calls for Justice in keeping with the principles the inquiry set out. In the end, it’s up to each one of us. We get the government, and the society, that we deserve.

Canada needs to change. Nations change one mind at a time.


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