The Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) in Manitoba has taken a significant step towards addressing the ongoing issue of murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit, and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+). The organization has created an MMIWG2S+ Unit to address the system and dire issues Indigenous women face. This move comes after decades of advocacy by the community to the federal and provincial governments for an inquiry that was dismissed until 2015.
On December 8, 2015, the federal government finally announced the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, two-spirit and gender-diverse people, that began in 2016 and concluded in 2019. The inquiry confirmed that the situation amounted to genocide and made 231 calls for justice. However, little progress has been made on the national level, and Indigenous communities continue to suffer.
The creation of the MMIWG2S+ Unit by the SCO is a crucial step toward addressing these issues at the community level. The unit will provide much-needed resources to amplify the work that is already being done following the creation of an MMIWG2S+ Liaison position in October 2022. The SCO will begin the next stage by consulting and engaging with families and survivors of MMIWG2S+.
In announcing the new unit, SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said, “Today, we are announcing that we are now able to increase our supports for MMIWG2S+. The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is in a better situation to assist our member Nations to respond to the ongoing state of emergency regarding our missing and murdered loved ones.”
The ongoing issue of MMIWG2S+ is a crisis that needs urgent attention. Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit, and gender-diverse people are disproportionately affected by violence and are more likely to go missing or be murdered than non-Indigenous people. This is a systemic issue that requires systemic change.
Addressing the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit+ individuals (MMIWG2S+) requires a collective effort from all levels of government and the judicial and law enforcement communities. This issue is not limited to Indigenous communities, and all Canadians must take the time to educate themselves about past injustices and become a part of the solution. We must continue to work together towards justice and reconciliation, ensuring that the voices of MMIWG2S+ are heard, and their lives are valued. Only then can we hope to achieve true healing and ensure that these tragedies never happen again.
Image Source The REDress Project at Acadia University