Day 2: MMIWG national inquiry hearings continue in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut

Wednesday is the second day of hearings at the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

It is the only stop the inquiry is making in Nunavut.

About 20 people are expected to give testimony, including 10 publicly in front of commissioners at the Siniktarvik Hotel and Conference Centre. There will also be private testimonies and sharing circles.

On Tuesday, commissioners heard from Laura Mackenzie, who called on Inuit to speak out about sexual abuse.

The inquiry also heard emotional testimony from Nikki Komaksiutiksak, who spoke about her cousin Jessica Michaels, who died at 17 in Winnipeg. 

The space in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, where people are testifying at the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Randi Beers/CBC)

The two girls ran away from home when they were 13 years old. They jumped from foster home to foster home throughout their teen years.

“I believe if we had family, she wouldn’t have gone down that road. But we had no one,” Komaksiutiksak sobbed.

Nikki Komaksiutiksak speaks at MMIWG Rankin Inlet, Nunavut0:34

“[Jessica] was severely abused in every way, shape and form. We are talking like extension cords, hangers, being stabbed, being sewn.” 

Micah Arreak also testified in Inuktitut, telling the inquiry that she heard of her daughter’s death on the radio.

“The murder of my daughter was immediately broadcasted over the radio … and that causes a lot of pain when you find out about the death of your own child via media.”

Hearings are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and will run all day. Members of the public are invited to join.

The inquiry is travelling across Canada in an effort to understand why Indigenous women are statistically five times more likely to die by violence than other Canadian women.

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