Leaders prepare for release of MMIWG final report

The 10th Yukon Forum was hosted on May 30

Premier Sandy Silver and Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14. The final report that delves into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls was discussed at the Yukon Forum on May 30. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

The final report that delves into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls was discussed at the Yukon Forum on May 30.

“We’re just having meaning intergovernmental relations conversations about what happens once that report is released and how our work is really going to begin at that time,” said Premier Sandy Silver.

The report will be released on June 3 and is the culmination of hearings held across the country over 2.5 years.

Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill and Jeanie Dendys, the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, have embargoed copies, Silver said.

“Chief Bill spoke to how the Yukon, before the nation moved towards a national process, had already started down that road. She spoke to how much an honour it was to be the first jurisdiction to have the hearings,” he said.

“There’s some First Nations that are currently reeling.”

Peter Johnston, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations called the problem a “crisis.” The report, he said, is likely to have many recommendations.

“I look forward to providing and working with that direction between the governments and the First Nations governments to alleviate the stress and the situation that we find ourselves in as a national problem,” he said.

“It’s not only a women or a girls problem. It belongs to all of us as Canadians and it’s going to take all of us to find solutions in order to alleviate the situation that we find ourselves in.”

Another topic that was touched on at the forum, which was hosted in Carmacks, included a more concentrated and collaborative response between governments when it comes to climate change.

Asked whether the Yukon government will call a climate change emergency like other municipalities and First Nations in Canada have, Silver didn’t provide a straight answer, instead saying that he will continue to listen and work with First Nations.

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation recently called a climate change emergency, signalling to the country, if not the world, the impacts the problem is having on the traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwich’in.

A heritage management agreement was signed on the day of the forum. According to a press release, it establishes greater collaboration between the Yukon government and First Nations when it comes to archeological or paleontological finds, along with the preservation of historic sites.

“The agreement is the result of extensive work by the Heritage Working Group, comprised of representatives from all 11 self-governing First Nations, the Council of Yukon First Nations and Government of Yukon,” the press release says.

The working group is now formalized.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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