Three days of community hearings held by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls begin at Yellowknife’s Chateau Nova hotel on Tuesday.
Commissioners Qajaq Robinson, Michèle Audette, and Brian Eyolfson are expected to hear from roughly 30 family members and survivors through a combination of public and private hearings, sharing circle testimonies, and artistic expression panels.
The inquiry is also providing statement gatherers to work with members of the public who walk in without prior arrangement and wish to be heard. The hearings and walk-in opportunities run from 9am until 5pm on each of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
If you would like to watch the community hearings but are not able to attend, inquiry organizers say live video will be streamed via the inquiry’s Facebook page.
The national inquiry in part defines its purpose as “examining the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women, girls and members of the LGBTQ2S community in Canada.” Community hearings across the country are being held to provide those who wish to speak with a culturally safe space to do so, in which support is available if required.
However, the inquiry itself has faced a turbulent few months amid the departure of several senior figures. Executive director Debbie Reid, whose appointment was only announced in October 2017, was revealed earlier this month to have already left her position.
Reid was the second executive director to leave the inquiry in the space of six months, after Michele Moreau’s resignation citing personal reasons in July.
The inquiry says more than 1,000 family members and survivors have asked for the opportunity to tell their stories during a series of regional hearings. The inquiry’s next published stop is Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, from February 20-22.