The interim report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (NI-MMIWG) was released Nov. 1 offering an early insight into final recommendations.
“Our Women and Girls are Sacred” is a 118-page document that includes what the commissioners have accomplished, their findings, process and challenges. More than 900 families and survivors have registered to share their stories with the national inquiry before January 2018.
Some of the themes in the report explore the need to improve policing, such as having “more representative police forces with better resourced Indigenous liaison officers and units in local police forces.” The report also mentions having more proactive investigations into Indigenous women’s, girls’, and LGBTQ2S people’s deaths and disappearances, and more transparent policing.
Changes to RCMP missing person investigation efforts in Alberta, Winnipeg and northern B.C. were highlighted. Although not specific to Indigenous women and girls, Project E-Pana was developed by RCMP in northern B.C. to investigate cold cases along Highway 16, also known as the Highway of Tears. The report also notes that it is difficult to accurately assess the effectiveness of these investigations because many police policies are not made public.
In the past few decades, 18 women and girls have been killed or have disappeared along the Highway of Tears. Highway 16 in B.C. stretches between Prince Rupert and Smithers. The NI-MMIWG was launched by the Government of Canada in September 2016, independent of federal, provincial and territorial governments.