Native Women’s Association leaves national MMIWG action plan process, calling it ‘toxic, dysfunctional’

Native Women’s Association leaves national MMIWG action plan process, calling it ‘toxic, dysfunctional’

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is releasing its own action plan Tuesday in response to the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls after stepping away from the federal government’s long-awaited plan.

The organization tweeted Monday that it walked away from the federal government’s “toxic process” to “come up with a real plan.”

The national inquiry released its final report titled Reclaiming Power and Place on June 3, 2019, after two years of gathering testimonies from families and survivors across the country.

The inquiry identified 231 Calls for Justice under the following themes: culture, health and wellness, human security, and justice, as well as a supplementary report focusing on specific issues facing Indigenous women and girls in Quebec.

On Tuesday, NWAC president Lorraine Whitman and CEO Lynne Groulx released Our Calls, Our Actions, which consists of 65 actions that the organization will take to address the Calls for Justice.

“This is what the Indigenous women of Canada want us to do. And, most importantly, this is what the families of victims and survivors of violence want us to do,” said Lorraine Whitman, NWAC’s president in a statement.

The core of the plan is to establish land-based Resiliency Lodges across Canada for holistic healing to Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.

They also plan to advocate for the establishment of a government compensation fund for MMIWG families and survivors, establish and maintain a national online MMIWG Knowledge Centre for disseminating information more broadly, and to host an MMIWG World Summit to raise public awareness.

Lorraine Whitman is president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. (Nic Meloney/CBC)

Organization cites ‘flawed’ process for leaving national plan

The organization stated it lost confidence in the government, calling the national action plan process “toxic” and “dysfunctional,” and that NWAC plans to put “families, not politics, first.”

In other tweets, NWAC said it hopes the government’s action plan is not “filled with red tape.”

“It’s already one year late and it had better be right. Our families deserve nothing less,” read another tweet.

The federal government has yet to release its national action plan to address violence against Indigenous women and girls. NWAC was among 19 Indigenous organizations involved with its co-development, along with National Family and Survivors Circle, federal government, provinces and territories.

NWAC said it will not be a signatory on the document, calling the process flawed.

Leaders of the organization stated they were  “shut out of the major decision-making processes,” were denied a seat on key working groups that provide input on the plan, and its representatives were subjected to lateral violence and hostility on committees where they were allowed.

“We could no longer be part of a process that was so toxic and dysfunctional,” said Whitman.

No date set for national action plan

Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Carolyn Bennett said the timing of its release was still being discussed with partners.

Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennettt was questioned by Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould and NDP MP Leah Gazan on Wednesday. 7:17

The federal government’s Budget 2021 set aside $2.2 billion toward responding to the national inquiry.

“The budget document was loyal to those four themes in the national inquiry: culture, health and wellness, security and safety, and justice,” said Bennett.

“I think as we roll out the federal plan, people will feel that we actually have been faithful to the inquiry and wanting to be a good partner with all of our partners coast to coast to coast.”

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