Everyone has responsibility in Calls for Justice
Re: “Time will tell if inquiry a success: chief”, Citizen, June 19.
The words of Quw’utsun Chief William Seymour about the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are accurate. Yes, actions speak louder than words. Naming the Canadian government’s actions by the proper name of genocide is a good beginning. But we have seen other Canadian reports and recommendations about the relationships with indigenous peoples that felt like good beginnings. Then the encouraging words are filed away on top of all those that came before.
The final report demands that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis families be able to “raise their children with the same safety, security, and human rights that non-Indigenous families do, along with full respect for the Indigenous and human rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis”. The responsibility for making this happen lies not only with all areas of governments, specific industries or service providers as mentioned in the report.
The final report mentions responsibilities of non-indigenous citizens as well. It “encourage[s] every Canadian to consider how they can give life to these Calls for Justice”. [https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Calls_for_Justice.pdf]. We each need each other. It is only through our working together that we can hold the government and ourselves to account. This is Canada’s great moral issue of the 21st Century. Each of us must meet it with respect, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
There is work to be done and it is ours to do. It is imperative — in our own lives, and in making it very clear what we expect from governments.
Kathy Coster, Bob Nation, Candace Moore, Miyo Stevens
Members of the Warmland Book and Film Collective