VICTORIA, B.C. — The Reclaiming Power and Place says the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who were murdered or disappeared across the country in recent decades are victims of a "Canadian genocide” characterised by the disproportionate level of violence these communities face within Canada through "state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies."
“We are being challenged today to take a deep long look at ourselves, our history and our modern society,” said B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen, spokesperson for Indigenous affairs and member of Tsartlip First Nation. “There may be a desire to downplay the result of this inquiry because it is difficult to hear these words. The term genocide has been reserved for other people, in far away countries at another time. As elected officials we now face the strongest test of our leadership.
“How will we respond? Do we downplay it and state the language was too strong? Or do we embrace this time as an opportunity to make the changes in our policy and ensure we bring light to this dark part of the culture that has allowed and continues to enable this to define who we are as a country.
“We have normalized these inequalities in Canadian society. Let the conclusion of this inquiry serve as a wake up call to the atrocities our society has allowed to be inflicted on Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people.
“In response to the results of this inquiry I am wary of colonial language that references developing a ‘path forward’ or ‘next steps.’ Federal and provincial governments must immediately prioritize the inquiry’s recommendations. People should not be asked for patience for their equality, safety, and survival.
“Not only have these women, girls, two spirit people, and their families suffered greatly, they’ve bravely shared their testimony so that we can better understand what is happening and how to stop it. From this point forward, every day we fail to heed their teachings we are complicit.
“To every young Indigenous person in Canada feeling scared today as they read the results of this inquiry, I am sorry. I see you. I stand with you. And I and my B.C. Green colleagues will fight for your future.”
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