While he’s hopeful and optimistic about it, Carrier Sekani Tribal Chief Terry Teegee says Canada’s inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is only the beginning.
“I certainly hope that there will be resources as well as timelines to implement the recommendations at the end of this inquiry. We’ve experienced far too often – in the Oppal inquiry and other inquiries – that it takes quite a long time to implement recommendations and I hope that this federal government implements the recommendations in a timely manner.”
Teegee says the very fact that the inquiry will take place is a testament to the work of the families and friends of the missing and murdered women.
He hopes that the inquiry will leave the door open to adding more commissioners to the process, in order to better represent the diversity of the country’s indigenous people.
“[The Carrier Sekani will] be full participants in this inquiry and we will be bringing recommendations forward for change in this country, including the RCMP and their involvement. I hope and I pray that there is systemic change in this country so many future generations of indigenous women live in this country without violence.”
Teegee says he’s hopeful that there will be real change. As for so many indigenous people, Teegee’s connection to the issue is deeply personal.
“As a father of an indigenous daughter, for me it’s quite an emotional point for this inquiry to begin finally after several years. As a family member, my two cousins Norma George and Ramona Wilson have been murdered and there is still no justice for my extended family.”
In addition to the need for timely action and adequate financial support, Teegee says recommendations made will need to be legislated to have any real effect.