Relatives of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls gather in Prince George to share their experience with B.C. government officials.

Aboriginal families prepare for inquiry

Hundreds of relatives of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls tell B.C. government about relations with police, domestic violence

About 500 family members of missing and murdered indigenous women met with B.C. cabinet ministers this week to prepare for a national inquiry promised by the Trudeau government.

“It was very moving, I think, for the families, in terms of giving families an opportunities to provide their voice, to tell their stories about what happened,” B.C. Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad said after three days of meetings in Prince George.

“It was a good exercise for us and it’s information that we will now take forward to the national roundtable coming up later in February in Winnipeg, as well as to B.C.’s input towards the national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women.”

Also attending were Justice Minister Suzanne Anton and Public Safety Minister Mike Morris, who served as North District Superintendent for the RCMP before being elected MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie in 2013.

Relations with police and domestic violence were among the most sensitive issues discussed.

“There were a lot of challenges that were raised in working with the RCMP in terms of some of the follow-up and other components, and so we have a lot of follow-up work to do with the families as well as with police in general,” Rustad said.

On domestic violence in aboriginal communities, he referred to the annual Gathering of Men organized by Paul Lacerte, executive director of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. It distributes symbolic moose hide patches.

“Women are bearing the burden of abuse, but they also have to bear the burden of advocacy to affect change, and this is a man’s problem as much as it is a woman’s problem,” Lacerte said at last year’s Valentine’s Day rally at the B.C. legislature. “Violence towards women and children has never been a part of our culture.”

Lacerte said across Canada, aboriginal women aged 15 and older are three times more likely to experience violence and be assaulted by their partners than non-aboriginal women.


Just Posted

Sunshine Valley songbird releases EP

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Pater has been singing and performing since age 9

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Hope stylist holds hair-athon for a good cause

Shayla Ross donating all proceeds of $10 cuts to the food bank

Hope arena turns green for hockey tourney

A second attempt at green ice, with proper ice paint, after food colouring experiment last year

Project Hope celebrates first birthday

Also: lego-mania comes to town, lineup of all-female comedians entertains Friday

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read