Push to include men in missing and murdered indigenous inquiry
A growing movement is demanding that indigenous boys and men be part of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
It took years of pressure and a change in leadership before the federal government launched the inquiry focusing on women specifically.
Cheam First Nation Chief Ernie Crey said he was happy to take part in lobbying for the inquiry, but believes it does not go far enough.
“I think it was between 1982 and 2011, 70 per cent of all aboriginal people who had been murdered or who had vanished were aboriginal males. Young men and boys. That’s profound,” Crey said.
Dr. Adam Jones, a UBC professor of political science, said the inquiry should be equitable to both genders.
“[Males] are no less gendered than women and girls, they are no less human beings and so far they have been left out of the analysis,” he said.
This week the Canadian Association for Equality sent a formal request to Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of indigenous and northern affairs, asking that men and boys be included. They are now waiting for a response.
The group that planned an event called “Expand the Inquiry” at Simon Fraser University has been criticized for taking attention away from indigenous women.
Phil Johnston, the director of Vancouver’s chapter of the Canadian Association for Equality, said the goal is to augment the power of the inquiry.
"This is really about adding to the inquiry and building upon it. It’s not about taking away from it as it is. The work they've done is incredible. We're just trying to make it better so it serves the indigenous community, so it serves everyone, including women and men,” he said.
The headquarters for the $54 million inquiry will open in Vancouver next week and hearings will begin early next year. For now the plan will only focus on women.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson