VANCOUVER — Canada announced a new fund to honour the lives and legacies of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, including LGBTQ2S individuals.
The Commemoration Fund for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls responds to the National Inquiry’s Interim report declaration that there is a need to fund commemoration activities to help honour the legacies of the victims and surviving family members.
In a statement, Ottawa said, “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous peoples. We cannot move forward and eliminate gender-based violence without acknowledging the past.”
Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef made the announcement in Vancouver, saying Ottawa is investing $10 million dollars over two years to provide funding for indigneous governments and organizations to work with families and communities to develop and implement commemorative initiatives across the country.
“Ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S individuals is everyone’s responsibility – including all levels of government, police, the justice system, civil society and other partners. Our government is listening to survivors and families who have told us that in order to move forward meaningfully, we must remember and help honour those who are missing and whose lives have been lost. The Commemoration Fund ensures that we have the means to do so,” said Monsef.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett said, “Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls fought for decades to ensure their daughters, sisters, mothers, and aunties are not forgotten and to have this on-going national tragedy properly investigated. Our government responded by calling the National Inquiry and by acting on the root causes: reforming child and family services, investments in social housing and shelters, and reviewing policing standards and practices. The Commemoration Fund responds to the Commission’s Interim Report and helps families and survivors honour their loved ones and promote the healing which is so important.”
Application for Proposals can be submitted at women.gc.ca. The deadline to submit is March 28, 2019 at 11:59 a.m. (noon) Pacific Standard Time.
The work of the Commemoration Fund will complement the other commemoration work already underway across the country.
In 2016, the Government of Canada dedicated $53.8 million to establish the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, with a two year mandate from September 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018, to complete its important work.
The National Inquiry released an interim report with recommendations on November 1, 2017.
The Government of Canada announced on June 5, 2018, that the Commission would be extended. Its final report is now due to be released by April 30, 2019 instead of the initial date of November 1, 2018.
While Indigenous women make up only 4% of Canada’s female population, 16% of all women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were Indigenous.