The Yukon advisory committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit+ people says it has unveiled the tool to making its vision a reality.
The advisory committee dates back to 2015. Following the national inquiry, the committee’s mandate was expanded, and it became tasked with coming up with and carrying out a territory-wide strategy. That strategy was released in 2020. In 2022, the committee revealed its priorities for the strategy.
On June 6, the committee made public a plan for implementing the strategy. The committee spoke about the implementation plan at a press conference that morning at the Yukon Arts Centre.
The committee’s three chairs represent its lead partners: Yukon First Nations, Indigenous women’s organizations and the Yukon government.
Co-chair Ann Maje Raider, who is the executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, attended via videoconference. She recognized the ongoing search for Ramona Peter, who was reported missing on April 28. She said the plan is the culmination of work with families and survivors.
“Without their invaluable contributions, any efforts to address this crisis would fall short and fail to make the necessary changes that will support Indigenous women’s girls and two-spirit+ people,” she said.
Co-chair Doris Bill, who is the Yukon First Nations representative, said the plan contains multiple complementary actions, including some items that might already be underway, that act as a map for the way forward and an accountability mechanism.
She said the implementation plan identifies one or more objectives for each action item from the strategy, and each of these objectives has milestones, proposed leads and considerations connected to it.
“The milestones are deliverables that are specific, measurable, achievable and relevant. Each milestone has a timeline identified to ensure it is time bound. The committee has also identified implementation considerations for the majority of the plan’s objectives. These considerations offer additional guidance and information about related work underway and relevant research or reports that partners and contributors can reference in the years to come,” she said.
“All these additional details will guide signatories in their work on the strategies action items, while also outlining deliverables to monitor the strategy’s progress and ensure accountability. I truly believe the release of this implementation plan reaffirms our commitment to the rights, well-being and justice for all Indigenous women, children and two-spirit+ individuals in the Yukon and beyond.”
In the plan, a message from the committee indicates the work has been more complex than anticipated and it will continue to be difficult given the long-standing issues at hand.
“Violence against Indigenous women in Canada is deeply intertwined with the lingering impacts of colonization and current systemic racism. The ongoing marginalization and [dispossession] of Indigenous peoples have contributed to the vulnerabilities and inequalities that persist today,” said co-chair Jeanie McLean, who is the minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate.
“In developing this plan, we needed to come up with concrete ways to address the underlying structural and systemic factors that continue to perpetuate violence.”
McLean discussed some of the challenges the committee has come across given it has largely been Indigenous women doing the work around the table.
“It was very triggering and took a lot of time for us to really find the right path,” she said.
“We can persevere through anything, because we’ve already been through so many barriers. What I think will be challenging is really now that we’re in the implementation stage is to have all of our partners from across the Yukon and those signatories to really come together and work to implement in a way that we’ve never done before. This is the only plan I’m aware of that’s been done in this way with all partners.”
Bill said the committee is often asked a crucial question: “Where do we start?”
“We’re not asking for any one organization to really adopt the plan in full, because it might be very challenging for anybody, but there are aspects of it that they can pull out and tailor to their own needs and communities,” she said.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org