The Yukon Advisory Committee on Missing and Murdered Women, Girls and Two-Spirit+ People (MMIWG2S+) has released an updated priority document to guide the work towards ending violence against MMIWG2S+ in the territory.
In 2020, the committee put out a strategy in response to the 2019 final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
In May, the committee narrowed it down to 10 priorities coming out of the MMIWG2S+ Accountability Forum.
The latest document released on Dec. 13 digs deeper into those priorities, with organizational leads, milestones and timelines for up to 15 years in place of objectives.
Committee co-chair Ann Maje Raider, who is executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, spoke to reporters who attended in person and virtually via Zoom during a Dec. 13 press conference at Haa Shagóon Hídi in Carcross.
Maje Raider said the wishes of families and survivors led to the committee adding two priorities to the newest document, for a total of 12 priorities.
“The document we are releasing today builds on what our advisory committee learned from both our partners and contributors, as well as families and survivors at the forum,” Maje Raider said.
The new additions involve supporting men to take action to end violence, and safe transportation and communication options in the Yukon.
Maje Raider highlighted the lack of safe rides, particularly when it comes to travelling from remote communities to Whitehorse.
For a solution, the committee turned to the Highway of Tears, a more than 700-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George, B.C. and Prince Rupert, B.C. that is notorious for disappearances and murders.
“They have created that safe transportation, and I’m hearing a lot of good feedback about that and what a difference it’s making in saving our women’s lives,” Maje Raider said.
The priority document has a section on transportation and communication that addresses the importance of reliable and affordable transportation within Whitehorse and between rural communities to increase Indigenous women’s economic and social participation and provide access to critical support services.
“Transportation services are critical to support low-income Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit+ people who cannot afford their own vehicles in order to travel for medical appointments, educational or professional opportunities, or to visit family members,” reads the priority document.
“A lack of reliable and safe transportation services can perpetuate violence against women, girls and Two-Spirit+ people who may be vulnerable travelling home in the evenings or, if residing in the rural communities, limiting their options to leave violent relationships.”
Jeanie McLean, committee co-chair and the minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate, said the document “takes us another step forward on a long, challenging and vitally important journey.”
“This document is not just a technical exercise,” she said.
“It lays out the additional detail needed to stay focused and clear on the complex work ahead.”
McLean said certain changes will occur faster than others.
“Some things can happen right away,” she said.
“Some things will take generations to really, really see the full extent of what we’re going to accomplish there.”
The next steps involve coming up with a full implementation plan in the new year and hosting a second accountability forum in summer 2023.
“It’s about finding that pathway to justice,” McLean said.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com