Officials react to inquiry

  • Dec. 30, 2015 4:21 p.m.

The federal government has announced an official inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women of this nation, but what does that mean for Central Albertans?

Local officials said it will mean many things – investigation, consultation, education and reconciliation. It will also mean a great deal of emotional turmoil for those affected by these missing and murdered women, officials added.

“What I’ve heard so far is that the people who are hungry for justice are really glad for this announcement about the inquiry. I’ve also talked to people who are directly affected by missing and murdered women, and they’re saying, ‘Oh God, what is this going to mean?’” said Theresa ‘Corky’ Larsen Jonasson, a local community elder.

“For Red Deer as a community, we are really going to have to work together. We are going to have to offer a lot of support, because the inquiry will bring up a lot of deep-rooted emotion.”

This investigation encompasses many aspects of Canadian life – an exploration of historical events, the implications of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, inclusive and welcoming communities and the change needed in attitudes to prevent more of these missing and murdered women, local officials said.

“My heart breaks for not only First Nations and Metis women, who are vastly more susceptible, but for all women. It’s not just First Nations women who are experiencing this violence,” Larsen Jonasson said.

The inquiry itself is part of a larger commitment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government to a renewed relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. Premier Rachel Notley released a statement following the announcement of the inquiry earlier this month. “From the outset, our government has signaled its intention to be a better partner and neighbour with Alberta’s Indigenous communities, based on respect, understanding and collaboration.”

Sheila Bannerman, a member of Red Feather Women and other community initiatives, said there is a lot of work to do and it must be done one step at a time.

“If something is happening everywhere, then something big will change. If the change is only in one community, or one commission or local government, then nothing will change. There has to be support.

“How you tackle an epidemic is the way you tackle anything – one step at a time. You do what you can do, in this hour or this day, and you never say that’s not enough. And then you keep on doing it. If you look at something so big, you look at it and say, ‘There’s nothing we can do’. But you can’t look at it that way anymore, and we are seeing that.”

Through January, the Red Deer Express will publish a series involving several community groups and how this inquiry affects them moving forward. The interviews will be conducted with local elders, community supports and City staff to examine what the inquiry means for Red Deer as a whole.

Just Posted

Vehicle thefts in Red Deer on the rise

Over 1,000 vehicles stolen in the span of a few months

WATCH: Red Deer 9-1-1 dispatcher thanked for birth assistance

Stearns family appreciative to Holly Shrader for helping deliver baby

Superintendent Ken Foster sees progress in city policing

Red Deer RCMP Superintendent has been on the job for a year and has seen success

Klaus testifies he falsely confessed to triple-homicide in Mr. Big sting

Klaus said confessions were made in order to further position within criminal organization

Red Deer River Naturalists host guest speaker

Bradley Peter will talk about new methods of lake monitoring

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

Opioid prescriptions up across Canada: report

The report shows the number of opioid prescriptions rose by almost seven per cent, while daily doses on average dropped

Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci warns that Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Health Canada hints at government’s plans for legal pot

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regulations

Washington governor tells BC don’t be ‘daunted’ by Trump

“I want to assure this assembly that no matter who is in the White House, it won’t affect Washington state’s relationship with Canada or British Columbia.”

Feds plan to spend billions on housing strategy

However much of the $15.9 billion will not be spent until after the next election in 2019

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Most Read