Indigenous leaders divided in support for MMIW inquiry’s extension request


OTTAWA — A request for a two-year extension from the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is getting a mixed response from First Nations leaders.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada supports the revised timeline, saying more time is necessary for the commission to fulfil its mandate.

The group’s president, Francyne Joe, says the extension will allow the inquiry to hear from survivors and family members who want to share their stories and more thoroughly uncover the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women.

But Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, who represents a group of about 30 First Nations in northern Manitoba, says in a post to social media that she can’t support the extension without changes to the commission’s leadership.

She was one of several high-profile chiefs across the country who called for the inquiry’s head commissioner Marion Buller to resign in order to reset a process they described as falling apart.

Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett confirmed Tuesday she received the commissioners’ request and would consider a response after consulting Indigenous partners and her provincial and territorial counterparts.

The inquiry began its work in September 2016 and an extension would nearly double its original $54-million budget and push back the due date for its final report to December 2020.

The Canadian Press


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