Grand Chief Arlen Dumas presents at closing oral submissions for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
December 10, 2018
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Unceded Algonquin Territory _ The closing submissions for the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls continues today in the unceded territories of the Algonquin First Nations also known as Ottawa. Grand Chief Arlen Dumas will present oral closing submissions on behalf of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Grand Chief Dumas states:
“AMC’s submission will speak to the many abuses and indignations that happen throughout the lives of First Nations women and girls, which is a direct result of the imposition of foreign laws and ways of being through colonization.
Disruptions that happened because their lives were taken too soon and because they were not given ceremonial teachings they required for living through stages of life according to First Nation teachings.
The only way to prevent future violence against First Nations women and girls is to move away from these colonial laws and policies and reassert First Nations’ laws affecting all aspects of daily living.
Foreign western-based ways are incapable of dealing with the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Keeping First Nations women and girls safe requires us to return to First Nation ways of being and knowing.
As we approach the end of the National Inquiry and reflect on the process, AMC is left with the conclusion that this was ultimately a flawed process based on foreign laws and values which did not reflect who we are as people.
The principle of reciprocity tells us that in spite of this flawed process, we cannot let these efforts go to waste. It is our responsibility to ensure the families and survivors who have shared so much with us during the Inquiry feel heard and that the recommendations are acted upon.
Healing from this collective trauma requires us to face the hard truths. The first truth is that we are in a state of emergency. Far too many First Nations women and girls are taken from us too soon and they continued to disappear and be murdered even as we were grappling with the issue during the Inquiry.
The second truth is that the crisis of MMIWG is a direct result of colonization. First Nation women and girls were abused from the very first moment settlers arrived to what is now called Canada. Settlers have benefitted from the theft of our lands and the commodification of our people. These systems are meant to serve them.
It is amazing how resilient our people are despite everything that has been done to us. The taking away of First Nations women and girls is a continued legacy of residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and the child welfare system.
The path forward requires us to look to First Nations worldviews and laws to begin healing from the continued disruptions. We must fundamentally change the landscape now. First Nations women and girls cannot afford for us to wait.”
AMC’s legal counsel Joëlle Pastora Sala of the Public Interest Law Centre and Anita Southall of Fillmore Riley LLP will also present on behalf of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls continues throughout the week with oral closing submissions ending Friday.