CUC Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)

June 6, 2019

The Canadian Unitarian Council acknowledges the systemic and ongoing nature of colonization of Indigenous peoples, land, and resources on this land. We are becoming more aware of the many ways in which colonization unjustly privileges settlers at the expense of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge the findings and calls to justice of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Final Report, and that these require immediate attention.

As Unitarian Universalists, we have also taken a stand for gender equality and the rights of LGBTQ+ peoples – values that intersect with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ (MMIW) Calls for Justice.

The term ‘genocide’ is used in this report (read the reflection on ‘genocide’ in the Executive Summary) to describe our collective actions towards Indigenous peoples. As challenging as it is to acknowledge this term, in particular towards Indigenous women and girls, we accept this assessment based on the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We are mindful that resistance to the use of ‘genocide’ may be linked to beliefs about our identity as a nation and denial of the facts of our shared history. It may also be linked to a mindset that emphasizes individual intention/action while minimizing the role of systemic influences in racism and privilege.

Chief Commissioner Marion Buller has stated that an “absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism in Canadian society”. We recognize that the paradigm shift asked of settlers may cause us to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. While we may not have individually constructed the racist system that is in place, we are each complicit in sustaining it until we take steps to change it. Therefore, we take ownership for our part in a system that has resulted in Indigenous women and girls:

    • being 12 times more likely to go missing than any other demographic;
    • being 16 times more likely to be killed or disappear than white women;
    • constituting almost 25 percent of all female homicides in Canada between 2001-2015.

As Unitarian Universalists we are committed to studying this document with the intent of taking action on the 231 Calls to Justice starting with item 15.3, which urges us to read the final report, take other steps to educate ourselves, and call on our governments to take action.

From the Canadian Unitarian Council National Voice Team, which consists of the President of the CUC Board of Trustees, the President of the UU Ministers of Canada, and the CUC Executive Director. Contact: executivedirector@cuc.ca

Resources for reading and action:

    1. Be informed and educated:Executive Summary of the Final Report
      1. CBC article: “231 Imperative Changes: The MMIG’s Calls for Justice
      2. United Nations Office on Genocide Convention and Responsibility to Protect
      3. Government of Canada – Indigenous Peoples
    2. Hold the government accountable for follow-up action:
      1. Contact your Member of Parliament
      2. Global News: “Prime Minister Promises Action
      3. CBC article: “Prime Minister Says Deaths and Disappearances of Indigenous Women and Girls Amount to Genocide