The Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation is calling for the final report on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to not be “another document that just sits on the shelf.”
“This matter is far too grave and far too prominent to let it go unaddressed,” Grand Council Chief Glen Hare said in a statement.
“This report confirms the genocide and systemic racism that we (experience) at the community level on a daily basis. The senseless loss of our women needs to stop — the targeted genocide must stop. Our women are the heart and home of our Nations. As the land gives us life and sustains us, so do our women.”
The document, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, was released Monday in Gatineau, Que., nearly three years after the work of the inquiry officially began in September 2016.
Based on the testimonies of more than 2,380 people, and with 231 recommendations or “calls to justice,” the report concludes that the violence the national inquiry heard amounts to a “race-based genocide” of Indigenous people.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself pledged that the report “will not be placed on a shelf to collect dust,” but stopped short of using the word “genocide” after receiving the document. He used the term during a speech in Vancouver later in the day.
Hare described the survivors and family members as “change makers” for sharing not only their stories but those who were “taken but not forgotten.
“They have shed light on this matter for those that were not able to see and understand before. Now they simply cannot ignore our cries and pleas to help us protect our women and keep them safe.”
He said the chiefs-in-assembly of the Anishinabek Nation stand united in calling on Trudeau and all levels of government to respond immediately with an action plan that will address and put in place the report’s calls for justice.
Trudeau has said that a plan would be developed and implemented to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people.
“The continued silence and inaction speaks volumes. Our Nation, our communities, our families and our children have suffered for far too long,” Hare said.
The Anishinabek Nation represents 40 member communities in Ontario.