News Release

REF NO.: 115

SUBJECT: Violence No More: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women public panel

DATE: August 5, 2016

A Violence No More: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women public panel will be held at Memorial University’s Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation on the St. John’s campus on Saturday, Aug.13.

Co-hosted by Memorial’s Department of Gender Studies, the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, and the Toronto-based No More Silence network, the event coincides with the upcoming national inquiry by the federal government into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

A free public event from 6-9:30 p.m. in IIC-2001 will be preceded by a closed workshop where participants from across the country—activists, academics, family members—will strategize about how to hold the government accountable throughout the inquiry process.

“While the Trudeau government has engaged diverse publics in their inquiry design process, none of the 18 pre-inquiry meetings were in Newfoundland and Labrador and the few local and regional inquiries into the issue have been of limited scope or lacked meaningful participation of the most affected—Indigenous women, families, communities and nations,” said Dr. Carol-Lynne D’Arcangelis, assistant professor, Department of Gender Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and a co-organizer of the event. “It is imperative that these voices shape the contours and implementation of the inquiry at all geographical and political levels.”

Specific objectives of the Aug. 13 event are to raise the profile of the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Newfoundland and Labrador; strengthen and broaden a national network of activists, scholars, family members, and community groups; combine participants’ insights into a document for public distribution, including to inquiry commissioners; and create a collaborative space to bridge academy/community divides, and devise strategies to hold the government accountable to Indigenous women, families, communities and nations throughout the inquiry process.

A video recording of the public panel will be available on the gender studies department and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre websites and will be steamed live from the event’s Facebook page.

“This forum presents an opportunity to compile information about the specifics of the issue in this province, based on the perspectives of the Inuit, Innu, and Mi’kmaq nations,” said Dr. D’Arcangelis. “Such advances are only possible when Indigenous peoples have direct influence on academic work.”

The Violence No More Newfoundland Forum builds on a series of annual events held in Toronto, Ont., since 2013, organized by No More Silence (NMS), Families of Sisters in Spirit and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. In concert with similar groups across the country, these organizations have worked intensely to end violence against Indigenous women in Canada—and specifically to raise awareness about the disproportionate numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada.

Notably, since 2014, a representative from the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre has participated in these annual events. This year, thanks to the collaboration of the centre and Memorial University, the event in St. John’s will realize No More Silence’s vision of strengthening the national network.

St. John’s emerged as an ideal site for the event, says Amelia Reimer, cultural support worker, St. John’s Native Friendship Centre.

“Some Mi'kmaq elders consider Newfoundland to be ‘ground zero’ for colonialism. Even the Mayflower stopped here for supplies before continuing on to Plymouth Rock.”

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