The hearings wrapped up in Edmonton Thursday for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
A Peace Country woman was able to share her story with the inquiry. Lois Duke of Kelly Lake, British Columbia spoke behind closed doors in a private statement.
In 1961, Duke alleges that her grandmother was murdered in Chetwynd, B.C.
“I think this is not a chance for closure or chance for my community or my family because there was no investigation or justice served for my grandmother. I think going forward, [I’d like to see] people talking about it and getting people to understand some of the issues indigenous women in Canada face. It is eye-opening for those who don’t understand,” explained Duke.
The hearings started in the province’s capital on Tuesday and finished on Thursday.
“One thing I was able to take away from the experience was that I am not alone in my feelings of sadness. It is somewhat comforting that there are people out there willing to share and listen to what you have to say. At the end of it all, they hug you and cry with you.”
Duke hopes these MMIWG inquiries help lead Canada toward a more empathetic view of indigenous people and communities.
“The plight that our communities are in is not of our choosing. It was because of things that happened in the past in Canada to lead us to where we are today.”
Others also shared their stories during public hearings as well.
“This information will be analyzed through a lens that highlights our women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people not as victims, but as holders of inherent human rights that are still being violated today. Our interdisciplinary research will be rooted in Indigenous methodology, and governed by traditional laws and ethics, that affirm the resilience, resistance and cultural resurgence of Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people,” said Chief Commissioner Marion Buller in a statement on the National Inquiry Framework in early August.
The next hearings will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They will officially wrap up in mid-December 2017.
Photo of moccasin “vamps” in memory of Duke’s grandmother for Walking With Our Sisters art installation