AMC Moves to Implement MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry Call for Justice to Implement the Recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry

February 22, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – On the eve of JJ Harper Day (now Indigenous Justice Awareness Day), the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs proudly announces the passage of a significant resolution during this week’s General Assembly to implement the Call for Justice of the MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry to implement the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.

“This resolution sends a powerful message that First Nations in Manitoba are united in our fight for justice to end the endemic human rights crisis of MMIWG2S+,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The passing of this resolution represents a comprehensive regional approach addressing both the MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry and the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, demonstrating the AMC’s commitment to protecting the rights and safety of First Nations citizens in Manitoba.”

The 1987 trial and outcome of Helen Betty Osborne’s kidnapping and murder prompted widespread calls for a public inquiry. In 1988, Winnipeg Police Services fatally shot JJ Harper, leading the Island Lake Tribal Council to establish “JJ Harper Day,” later renamed Aboriginal Justice Awareness Day. These events spurred Manitoba to launch the Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal Peoples (AJI), which issued 296 recommendations. However, implementation has been gradual and fragmented, with crucial reforms to the criminal justice system left unaddressed. First Nations citizens continue to be disproportionately represented in the criminal justice, with previous efforts to improve representation within the justice system failing to produce significant change. The AJI advocated for First Nations-controlled justice systems and recommended that First Nations assume control of their justice systems, with federal and provincial governments recognizing their inherent authority. However, none of these recommendations have been implemented, as attempts have been hindered by the failure of federal and provincial governments to acknowledge First Nations rights.

Grand Chief Merrick said, “I am very pleased that the Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously supported directing the AMC to engage in a tripartite process with Canada and Manitoba to fully implement the AJI, and that this approach to Call for Justice 5.1 represents a regional First Nation response to related Action Plan Measures of Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The Chiefs were also very clear that we work together closely with the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), Anisininew Okimawin (AO), and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief’s Office to ensure the effective implementation of both the MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry Call for Justice 5.1 and the recommendations of the AJI. The AMC remains dedicated to safeguarding the rights and well-being of First Nations peoples across Manitoba and looks forward to working in partnership with all levels of government to address systemic injustices.”

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.