Over 100 family members and survivors will be in B.C. this week as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
For five days, families will share their stories through public and private hearings and artistic expressions. The mandate of the hearings is to examine and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people in Canada by identifying patterns and underlying factors. Institutional practices and policies implemented in response to violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls will also be examined. The hearings will take place at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond.
Since the registration process opened in the fall of 2016, more than 1400 family members and survivors have registered to participate and 880 family members and survivors have shared their personal stories through community hearings and statement gatherings across the country.
“The stories of families and survivors are the heart and soul of the National Inquiry, which is why we created an inclusive and supportive process to hear from as many voices as possible,” said Marion Buller, chief commissioner, in a press release. “Every truth shared will guide the next important stages of the investigation and help to inform our recommendations for change.”
In preparation of the hearings, Vancouver has opened renovated space on the ground floor of a city-operated single-room-occupancy hotel at 44 East Cordova St. opened Monday and is called Saa-ust, which translates to “to lift up” in Coast Salish. The space, which is former home of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, will be offered as a temporary refuge centre for survivors and families attending the hearings.