WHITEHORSE—Premier Darrell Pasloski, Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill, and Teslin Tlingit Council Chief Carl Sidney are part of a Yukon delegation that will be attending the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Ottawa on February 27. The event is being hosted by National Aboriginal Organizations and is bringing together Indigenous, federal, provincial and territorial leaders as well as family members who have lost loved ones.
“Preventing violence against Aboriginal women is a priority for the Yukon government and we are committed to working collaboratively on this important issue,” Pasloski said. “The aim of the roundtable is to create a dialogue between all orders of government and Aboriginal representatives and families, and to collectively identify solutions and move them forward.”
Chief Bill said: “While I see the roundtable as an important first step, there is still much to be done. For years, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, along with First Nations across the country, have been calling for a national inquiry and I continue to support their plea. Collectively and constructively, we must contribute to solutions; act to increase hope for the safe return of those missing; provide support to the families; and, ultimately, develop a means to ensure our communities are safe for Aboriginal women and girls. Dialogue is good but I want to see some genuine results.”
Chief Sidney said: “We must end violence against Aboriginal women and girls and prevent further cases from happening. The National Roundtable is a start, but we also urge the federal government to initiate a national inquiry into this issue. This is an essential step in preventing these terrible tragedies where the victims are our Canadian daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties, grandmothers and, first and foremost, human beings.”
At a meeting with national Aboriginal leaders in Charlottetown on August 27, 2014, premiers reiterated their strong support for an initiative brought forth by the Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada for national roundtable discussions on missing and murdered Indigenous women. Yukon government has also supported national Aboriginal leaders’ call for a national inquiry into the issue.
“Yukon government has been actively working on this issue for several years, both nationally and here at home,” Minister Responsible for the Women’s Directorate Elaine Taylor said. “We’ve held two regional summits and participated in four National Aboriginal Women’s Summits. We also continue to ensure that our initiatives are guided by the leadership of Aboriginal women who are committed to reducing the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Aboriginal women in the territory.”
The Yukon government has provided $1.7 million for the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund since 2004, over $222,000 to the Yukon Sisters in Spirit project from 2010 to 2013 and approximately $450,000 to implement the recommendations of the 2012 Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Summit.
There are 39 known cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Yukon. This issue has affected every Yukon community and all Yukon First Nations.
Yukon delegation members – National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Premier Darrell Pasloski
- Assembly of First Nations Women’s co-chair Lorraine Netro
- Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief Doris Bill
- Teslin Tlingit Council Chief Carl Sidney
- Dorothy Smith, representing the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society
- Krista Reid, president of Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle
- Marian Horne, president of Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council
- Diane Sharon Lilley, sister of Cindy Burk, who was murdered on the “Highway of Tears” in northern B.C. in 1990
- Director of First Nations Relations Kelli Taylor (Government of Yukon)
- Director of Women’s Directorate Jennifer England (Government of Yukon)