The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is in Moncton, N.B., today for the start of two days of community hearings.
About 30 family members and survivors are expected to speak through a variety of formats — public and private hearings, sharing circle testimonies and artistic expression panels — during sessions at the Four Points by Sheraton Moncton.
This is the first and only stop in New Brunswick.
“We are blessed and pleased … we will be listening and receiving the truth of more than 30 families and survivors for the next two days,” said MMIWG commissioner Michèle Audette.
“It’s very important we are here in this beautiful territory.”
Community hearings into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls begin today in Moncton. National inquiry commissioner Michele Audette taking questions from reporters ahead of hearings. pic.twitter.com/mNaF1HfU3Z
More than 700 people have already shared their stories through the national inquiry, but it has been plagued from the start with staff turnover and concerns over aftercare, emotional and mental health support for people who have testified about losing loved ones.
“The demand of families is so huge,” she said. “They want to share their stories.”
A youth panel that will include Indigenous New Brunswickers is also scheduled for Wednesday.
“It’s going to … make sure that when we write those recommendations, the youth perspective is there and we need to have this across Canada,” she said.
The independent inquiry was initially launched in September 2016 in response to calls for action by Indigenous families and groups.
Its mandate is to “examine and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada by looking at patterns and underlying factors,” according to the website.
The proceedings are open to the public.