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New West councillor reiterates need for action on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls

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Missing - file - Canadian Press
Chief commissioner Marion Buller, left to right, and commissioners Brian Eyolfson, Qajaq Robinson and Michele Audette prepare the final report to give to the government at the closing ceremony for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Gatineau, Que., on Monday, June 3, 2019.

The City of New Westminster needs to continue to press for action regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, says Coun. Nadine Nakagawa.

At Monday’s council meeting, Nakagawa acknowledged that Oct. 4 is the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released in June 2019.

“We have seen very limited government action on it. The majority of the discussion focused on debating the use of the word genocide, when in fact it absolutely meets the use of the term genocide,” Nakagawa said. “I just didn’t want to let that go unnoticed. I think it’s important to say that we as a city supported the calls for justice and we need to continue to push forward on those.”

In July 2019, New Westminster city council approved a motion by Nakagawa and Coun. Patrick Johnstone calling on the city, the New Westminster police board, the federal government, the provincial government and the school board to take action to implement actions in the report.

“Everyone in New Westminster has been called to act. Not just the city. Not just the federal government. Not just the provincial government,” Nakagawa said when the motion was presented in 2019. “In it, the citizens have been asked, community members have been asked, to develop knowledge and read the final report, to listen to the truths shared, to acknowledge the burden of these human Indigenous rights violations and how they impact Indigenous women and girls, the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual people today.”

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ released its final report after getting input from more than 2,380 people during two years of cross-country public hearings and evidence gathering. It included 231 individual calls for justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus