LONDON, ONTARIO (January, 30, 2017) – Recent policy changes made by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for investigating missing persons are intended to address cases of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, but fall short. The announcement has caught Indigenous communities, organizations, and families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women by surprise because of the lack of engagement by the RCMP in the policy process.
According to an RCMP Report, there are 1181 unresolved cases of murdered or missing Indigenous Women. These numbers have been disputed by First Nations and even the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development has agreed that the numbers are much bigger. An inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women is underway and a final report is expected by the end of 2018.
The lack of engagement with Indigenous peoples on policies such as this is a symptom of a larger systemic issue. Band aid solutions like tinkering with policy are not the answer.
The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Deputy Grand Chief, Denise Stonefish stated, “While I may applaud the RCMP for moving ahead, these changes raise more queries. It raises the lack of transparency; family’s involvement to review for input; who was involved in the crafting; who vetted the policy change. Especially when there is an AFN / RCMP signed agreement that includes looking at ways to improve relations.”
At a recent Assembly of First Nations meeting, the RCMP Commissioner apologized for historic wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples and pledged to embark on a new relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Promises of wanting to improve relations falls flat when the only change to occur happens internally for the RCMP and no visible effort is made to reach out to those they are supposed to serve and protect.
AIAI is mandated as a Political Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on Twitter @AIAI_comms and on Facebook.