Statement from Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine, Minister Responsible for Women and Gender Equity, and Housing, Addictions and Homelessness Minister Bernadette Smith on Important Discussions on Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQI+
February 8, 2024
At the close of the second annual National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQI+ People, we are grateful to have gathered and shared with our Indigenous, federal, provincial and territorial partners on this ongoing national crisis.
Manitoba is in many respects ground zero for the epidemic of MMIWG2S+, as Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit peoples in Manitoba have experienced rates of violence higher than any other province in the country. Our province bears a painful legacy of racist violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people that is still very much alive today.
Many in our province have risen to be leaders in a community-led movement to bring attention to this national tragedy. The Manitoba government was once actively engaged in this work alongside community and MMIWG2S+ families including partnering with Ka Ni Kanichihk to develop the MMIWG2S+ monument at The Forks and co-hosting a national gathering in 2014. Much was accomplished and activism at the community level is ongoing. However, the previous Manitoba government has not been as engaged in these efforts over the last seven years and its relationship between the government and MMIWG2S+ families has faltered as a result.
We are committed to renewing these relationships and once again making Manitoba a strong partner in addressing violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people. This includes working with families to fulfil our commitment to search the landfill.
Earlier this year, we announced the appointment of Cora Morgan in the renewed role of special advisor on Indigenous women’s issues and secretary to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Peoples and Gender-Based Violence Committee of Cabinet. Morgan will lead the development of an MMIWG2S+ provincial strategy, which will increase safety for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people, support Indigenous-led approaches and capacity building, and create meaningful, lasting systemic change.
These priority areas align with the 231 calls for justice of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as well as recommendations received through engagements with MMIWG2S+ families, Indigenous service organizations, community organizations and Indigenous leadership. We look forward to sharing details of this strategy in the coming months.
As we continue to develop this strategy, we are eager to work in partnership with the federal government to action the calls for justice and the national action plan on MMIWG2S+. Most importantly, we look forward to centering MMIWG2S+ families and walking alongside them in this work.
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