Crystal Schick/Yukon News file Jeanie Dendys, the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, in the legislature in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017.

No Yukon government officials at the closing ceremony of the MMIWG inquiry

The territorial government was the only jurisdiction in Canada to not send anyone

The Yukon was the only jurisdiction in Canada to not send a government official to the conclusion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Jeanie Dendys, the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, adding that she wasn’t informed that representatives from each province and territory would be called on during the closing ceremony on June 3.

“The invitation was to me, to Government of Yukon.”

Ministers or an assistant deputy minister from every provincial and territorial government except the Yukon attended the ceremony to receive a copy of the report.

Dendys said she was unaware someone could have gone in her place.

“If I had known that, I would have sent someone. There’s no question. We thought we were doing the right thing. We made the decision at the committee level. We had Yukon people there.”

Dendys, Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill and Ann Maje Raider, the executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, are co-chairs of the Yukon Advisory Council. It’s a group that worked closely with the inquiry.

Maje Raider and family members of missing or murdered Yukon Indigenous women and girls were at the closing ceremony that was hosted in Gatineau, Que.

The report, which was released then, found that the level of violence Indigenous women and girls face amounts to genocide. It says the number of dead Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people is in the “thousands.”

Dendys, Premier Sandy Silver and others were in Dawson City for a caucus retreat around the time of the official release of the report and closing ceremony.

The retreat took the form of the Commissioner’s Ball and Tea on June 1 followed by caucus meetings on June 3 and 4.

These were commitments Dendys said she couldn’t change.

“The plans were in place. It was a big struggle. It’s just unfortunate that it worked out that way.

“This is so important to our people,” she continued. “If there’s a file that’s most important going forward for our Indigenous people in Yukon and Canada, it’s this one. It just is.”

She said the report was initially supposed to be released at the end of April, and that it coming out when it did caused an unshakeable scheduling conflict.

“Absolutely, I would have been there,” Dendys said. “I watched the ceremony this morning up until 8:30 a.m. and my spirit was there with them. I’ve worked really hard to support the inquiry all the way through and I went to many of the hearings throughout Canada.”

Cabinet spokesperson Lisa Bucher said in a written statement that Maje Raider “attended the event to represent the Yukon.”

Maje Raider told the News that it’s all right that Dendys wasn’t at the closing ceremony.

“She may have not been here, but any disappointments we have, she is certainly forgiven, because we know and we just trust and we know that she will work harder again,” said Maje Raider, adding that the minister has “worked tirelessly on this issue.”

“We have faith,” she continued. “If something’s going to be done with this report it’s going to come from the Yukon.”

The more than 1,200-page document contains 231 calls for justice and is the result of two-and-a-half years of work that saw the inquiry travelling across the country to hear the testimonies of more than 2,380 families, survivors, knowledge-keepers and elders.

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

MMIWGYukon government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued a public exposure warning on April 9. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
COVID-19 exposure notice issued for Air Canada flight

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued a… Continue reading

Wyatt's World
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 9, 2021.… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read