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Local advocacy group pleased with step toward reconciliation

After a long time coming, the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada is set to launch and local advocacy group Hug a Sister is happy that the federal government has made this step.

Co-founder of the group Delaine Lambert-English explains that this issue is close to her heart because she lost a cousin of her own when she was around 15 years old. She called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as stepping stone into this inquiry launch.

“I am really glad that process happened. This inquiry will definitely lead us to that road of reconciliation. It will definitely be a long road though, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of work that needs to be done all across the board but I think this is a step in the right direction.”

She adds that this has been a long time coming with many people rallying for this for years.

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Co-founder Jackie Benning says the inquiry is very important because some of the causes are known for why indigenous women in Canada are going missing and being murdered but it’s the next step.

“we have not yet succeeded in prevention, so we need to dig deeper and find what we are missing to really create that road map the healing.”

Lambert-English explains that Grande Prairie is involved in the conversation and community members continue to make the issue known.

“We are a hub for a lot of these Northern communities… There are agencies out there that host events like the Sisters in Spirit Walk with vigils and a walk. Last year, they actually showed the documentary Highway of Tears at the Grande Prairie Regional College.”

The federal government is handing over the inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to five commissioners. The national inquiry will be launched Sept. 1 and last more than two years at a cost of at least $53.8 million.

The five commisisoners include chief commissioner of the inquiry Marion Buller, former president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada Michèle Audette, First Nations and human rights lawyer Brian Eyolfson, constitutional and Aboriginal law expert Marilyn Poitras and Nunavut-born lawyer Qajaq Robinson.

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