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Alliance Statement on National Inquiry Report into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people
The Alliance for Healthier Communities calls for the immediate implementation of recommendations put forward in the National Inquiry Report into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, (Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls).
Launched in 2016, the inquiry heard testimony from 2386 people from coast to coast. It centered the voices of Indigenous families who have lost loved ones. It refused to reduce missing and murdered women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people to statistics on a page. Instead, the inquiry prioritized the expertise of Indigenous peoples and rigorously examined historic and contemporary contributors to the ongoing crisis. It found that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to experience violence than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Systemic dehumanization, racism and colonization are behind these disparities. The inquiry concluded that violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people amounts to genocide. The Alliance supports these findings.
The inquiry report established links between systems, structures and the everyday lived experience of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. It is impossible to talk about the ongoing crisis without talking about access to equitable health services for Indigenous peoples. The inquiry report showed that socioeconomic marginalization compromised the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of Indigenous peoples, leading to disparate health outcomes, (including worse mental health outcomes, disproportionate devastation caused by the opioid crisis and heightened exposure to violence).
The national inquiry put forward several health and wellness calls to action, summarized here:
- We call upon all governments to ensure that the rights to health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples, and specifically of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, are recognized and protected on an equitable basis.
- We call upon all governments to provide adequate, stable, equitable, and ongoing funding for Indigenous-centred and community-based health and wellness services that are accessible and culturally appropriate, and meet the health and wellness needs of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
- We call upon all governments to fully support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities to call on Elders, Grandmothers, and other Knowledge Keepers to establish community-based trauma-informed programs for survivors of trauma and violence.
- We call upon all governments to ensure that all Indigenous communities receive immediate and necessary resources, including funding and support, for the establishment of sustainable, permanent, no-barrier, preventative, accessible, holistic, wraparound services, including mobile trauma and addictions recovery teams.
- We call upon all governments to establish culturally competent and responsive crisis response teams in all communities and regions.
- We call upon all governments to ensure substantive equality in the funding of services for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, as well as substantive equality for Indigenous-run health services.
- We call upon all governments to provide continual and accessible healing programs and support for all children of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people and their family members.
Systemic discrimination has made race-based and gendered violence towards Indigenous people possible. This is a Canadian crisis and addressing it requires participation from all of us. The Alliance encourages its members to engage deeply with the inquiry findings, recognize the expertise of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in defining the scope of the crisis and support Indigenous-led solutions. Additionally, the Alliance encourages its members to work towards a paradigm shift that dismantles systemic and structural factors driving inequity experienced by Indigenous people.
The Alliance supports the position that Indigenous health care be planned, designed, developed, delivered and evaluated by Indigenous governed organizations, and urges member centres to work in a manner that honours and respects Indigenous voice, leadership and governance frameworks, and that exemplifies authentic allied relationships.
The Alliance for Healthier Communities is the voice of community-governed primary health care in Ontario. Our members include Community Health Centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, Community Family Health Teams and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics who together serve approximately 5% of the Ontario population.