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Inuit-Specific Calls For Justice, The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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Calls for Justice for Inuit

Testimony shared by Inuit witnesses, experts, and Elders, and submissions by Inuit representative organizations, along with existing reports and research, demonstrated that Inuit have unique and distinct experiences of colonial oppression and violence. Further, witnesses emphasized distinct areas of concern and priority areas for Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people that require distinct recommendations.

16.1 We call upon all governments to honour all socio-economic commitments as defined in land claims agreements and self-government agreements between Inuit and the Crown. These commitments must be upheld and implemented. Articles 23 and 24 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, and commitments by governments to provide for the housing and economic needs of Inuit, must be fully complied with and implemented.

16.2 We call upon all governments to create laws and services to ensure the protection and revitalization of Inuit culture and language. All Inuit, including those living outside Inuit Nunangat, must have equitable access to culture and language programs. It is essential that Elders are included in the development and delivery of these programs.

16.3 We call upon all governments with jurisdiction in Inuit Nunangat to recognize Inuktut as the founding language, and it must be given official language status through language laws. Inuktut must be afforded the same recognition and protection and promotion as English and French within Inuit Nunangat, and all governments and agencies providing services to Inuit must ensure access to services in Inuktut, and invest in the capacity to be able to do so. Furthermore, all government and agency service providers must be culturally competent and educated in Inuit culture, laws, values, and history, also well as the history of colonial violence perpetuated by the Canadian state and government agents against Inuit.

16.4 Given that the intergenerational transfer of Inuit knowledge, values, and language is a right that must be upheld, we call upon all governments to fund and support the recording of Inuit knowledge about culture, laws, values, spirituality, and history prior to and since the start of colonization. Further, this knowledge must be accessible and taught to all Inuit, by Inuit. It is imperative that educational institutions prioritize the teaching of this knowledge to Inuit children and youth within all areas of the educational curriculum.

16.5 Given that reliable high-speed Internet services and telecommunications are necessary for Inuit to access government services and to engage in the Canadian economic, cultural, and political life, we call upon all governments with jurisdiction in Inuit Nunangat to invest the infrastructure to ensure all Inuit have access to high-speed Internet.

16.6 We call upon all governments and Inuit organizations to work collaboratively to ensure that population numbers for Inuit outside of the Inuit homeland are captured in a disaggregated manner, and that their rights as Inuit are upheld. These numbers are urgently needed to identify the growing, social, economic, political, and cultural needs of urban Inuit.

16.7 We call upon all governments to ensure the availability of effective, culturally appropriate, and accessible health and wellness services within each Inuit community. The design and delivery of these services must be inclusive of Elders and people with lived experience. Closing the service and infrastructure gaps in the following areas is urgently needed, and requires action by all governments. Required measures include but are not limited to:

i The establishment and funding of birthing centres in each Inuit community, as well as the training of Inuit midwives in both Inuit and contemporary birthing techniques.

ii The establishment and funding of accessible and holistic community wellness, health, and mental health services in each Inuit community. These services must be Inuit-led and operate in accordance with Inuit health and wellness values, approaches, and methods.

iii The establishment and funding of trauma and addictions treatment and healing options in each Inuit community.

16.8 We call upon all governments to invest in the recruitment and capacity building of Inuit within the medical, health, and wellness service fields. Training and competency in both contemporary and Inuit medical, health, and wellness practices and methodologies are essential for effective services in these fields.

16.9 We call upon the Government of Canada, in partnership with Inuit, to establish and resource an Inuit Healing and Wellness Fund to support grassroots and community-led programs. This fund must be permanently resourced and must be administered by Inuit and independent from government.

16.10 We call upon all governments to develop policies and programs to include healing and health programs within educational systems. These programs must be Inuit-led and must provide the resources to teach Inuit children Inuit-appropriate socio-emotional coping skills, pride, and capacity.

16.11 Given that healing occurs through the expression of art and culture, we call upon all governments within Inuit Nunangat to invest in Inuit artistic expression in all its forms through the establishment of infrastructure and by ensuring sustainable funds are available and accessible for Inuit artists.

16.12 We call upon all governments and service providers to ensure that Inuit men and boys are provided services that are gender- and Inuit-specific to address historic and ongoing trauma they are experiencing. These programs must be Inuit-led and -run, and must be well resourced and accessible.

16.13 We call upon all governments to take all measures required to implement the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy with Inuit nationally and regionally, through Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).

16.14 We call upon all federal, provincial, and territorial governments to review and amend laws in relation to child and family services to ensure they uphold the rights of Inuit children
and families and conform to Inuit laws and values. Inuit parents and guardians must be provided access to Inuit-specific parenting and caregiving teachings and services.

16.15 In light of the multijurisdictional nature of child and family services as they currently operate for Inuit in Canada, we call upon the federal government, in partnership with Inuit, to establish and fund an Inuit Child and Youth Advocate with jurisdiction over all Inuit children in care. In the absence of a federally mandated Inuit Child and Youth Advocate, we call on all provinces and territories with Inuit children in their care to each establish Inuit-specific child and youth advocates.

16.16 We call upon all government agencies providing child and family services to Inuit children to enumerate and report on the number of Inuit children in their care. This data must be disaggregated and the reports must be shared with Inuit organizations and Inuit child and youth advocates.

16.17 We call upon all governments to prioritize supporting Inuit families and communities to meet the needs of Inuit children, recognizing that apprehension must occur only when absolutely required to protect a child. Placement of Inuit children with extended family and in Inuit homes must be prioritized and resourced. Placement outside of their communities and outside their homelands must be restricted.

16.18 We call upon all governments to respect the rights of Inuit children and people in care, including those who are placed in care outside of their Inuit homelands. All governments must ensure that children and people in care have access to their families and kinship systems and have meaningful access to their culture and language and to culturally relevant services. All child and family services agencies must work with Inuit communities within their jurisdiction to meet their obligations to Inuit children in their care.
We call upon all governments to immediately invest in safe, affordable, and culturally appropriate housing within Inuit communities and for Inuit outside of their homelands, given the links between the housing crisis and violence, poor health (including tuberculosis) and suicide. Immediate and directed measures are required to end the crisis.

16.19 We call upon all governments to develop and fund safe houses, shelters, transition houses, and second-stage housing for Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people fleeing violence. These houses and shelters are required in all Inuit communities and in urban centres with large Inuit populations. Shelters must not require full occupancy to remain open and to receive funding. Further, they must be independent from child and family services agencies, as women may not seek shelter due to fear of agency involvement.
This action includes the establishment and funding of shelters and safe spaces for families, children, and youth, including Inuit who identify as 2SLGBTQQIA, who are facing socio-economic crises in all Inuit communities and in urban centres with large Inuit populations.

16.20 We call upon all governments to support the establishment of programs and services designed to financially support and promote Inuit hunting and harvesting in all Inuit communities. All governments with jurisdiction in Inuit Nunangat must immediately increase minimum wage rates and increase social assistance rates to meet the needs of Inuit and to match the higher cost of living in Inuit communities. A guaranteed annual livable income model, recognizing the right to income security, must be developed and implemented.

16.21 We call upon all governments to ensure equitable access to high-quality educational opportunities and outcomes from early childhood education to post-secondary education within Inuit communities. Further, all governments must invest in providing Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people with accessible and equitable economic opportunities.

16.22 We call upon all governments to fund and to support culturally and age-appropriate programs for Inuit children and youth to learn about developing interpersonal relationships. These programs could include, for example, training in developing healthy relationships and personal well-being and traditional parenting skills. Furthermore, Inuit children and youth must be taught how to identify violence through the provision of age-appropriate educational programs like the Good Touch/Bad Touch program offered in Nunavik.

16.23 We call upon all governments to work with Inuit to provide public awareness and education to combat the normalization of domestic violence and sexualized violence against Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people; to educate men and boys about the unacceptability of violence against Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people; and to raise awareness and education about the human rights and Indigenous rights of Inuit.

16.24 We call upon all governments to fund and to support programs for Inuit children and youth to teach them how to respond to threats and identify exploitation. This is particularly the case with respect to the threats of drugs and drug trafficking as well as sexual
exploitation and human trafficking. This awareness and education work must be culturally and age-appropriate and involve all members of the community, including 2SLGBTQQIA Inuit.

16.25 We call upon all educators to ensure that the education system, from early childhood to post-secondary, reflects Inuit culture, language, and history. The impacts and history of colonialism and its legacy and effects must also be taught. Successful educational achievements are more likely to be attained and be more meaningful for Inuit when they reflect their socio-economic, political, and cultural reality and needs. Further, we call upon all governments with jurisdiction over education within the Inuit homeland to amend laws, policies, and practices to ensure that the education system reflects Inuit culture, language, and history.

16.26 We call upon all governments to establish more post-secondary options within Inuit Nunangat to build capacity and engagement in Inuit self-determination in research and academia. We call on all governments to invest in the establishment of an accredited
university within Inuit Nunangat.

16.27 We call upon all governments to ensure that in all areas of service delivery – including but not limited to policing, the criminal justice system, education, health, and social services – there be ongoing and comprehensive Inuit-specific cultural competency training for public servants. There must also be ongoing and comprehensive training in such areas as trauma care, cultural safety training, anti-racism training, and education with respect to the historical and ongoing colonialism to which Inuit have been and are subjected.

16.28 Given that the failure to invest in resources required for treatment and rehabilitation has resulted in the failure of section 718(e) of the Criminal Code and the Gladue principles to meet their intended objectives, we call upon all governments to invest in Inuit-specific treatment and rehabilitation services to address the root causes of violent behaviour. This must include but is not limited to culturally appropriate and accessible mental health services, trauma and addictions services, and access to culture and language for Inuit. Justice system responses to violence must ensure and promote the safety and security of all Inuit, and especially that of Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

16.29 We call upon all governments and service providers, in full partnership with Inuit, to design and provide wraparound, accessible, and culturally appropriate victim services. These services must be available and accessible to all Inuit and in all Inuit communities.

16.30 We call upon Correctional Service Canada and provincial and territorial corrections services to recognize and adopt an Inuit Nunangat model of policy, program, and service development and delivery. This is required to ensure that Inuit in correctional facilities get the Inuit-specific treatment and rehabilitation programs and services they need. Further, it will ensure that Inuit women can remain within their Inuit homelands and are able to maintain ties with their children and families. Correctional Service Canada and provincial and territorial correctional services must ensure that effective, needs-based, and culturally and linguistically appropriate correctional services are made available for Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people in custody. Inuit men and boys in custody must also receive specialized programs and services to address their treatment and rehabilitation needs and to address the root causes of violent behaviour. We call upon Correctional Service Canada to support and equitably fund the establishment of facilities and spaces as described in section 81 and section 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, within all Inuit regions.

16.31 We call upon Correctional Service Canada and provincial and territorial correctional services to amend their intake and data-collection policies and practices to ensure that distinctions-based information about Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people is accurately captured and monitored. All correctional services must report annually to Inuit representative organizations on the number of Inuit women within correctional services’ care and custody.

16.32 We call upon police services, in particular the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), to ensure there is Inuit representation among sworn officers and civilian staff within Inuit communities. Inuit are entitled to receive police services in Inuktut and in a culturally competent and appropriate manner. The RCMP must ensure they have the capacity to uphold this right. Within the Nunavut Territory, and in accordance with Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the RCMP has obligations to recruit, train, and retain Inuit. The RCMP must take immediate and directed measures to ensure the number of Inuit within the RCMP in Nunavut, and throughout the Inuit homelands, is proportionally representative.

16.33 We call upon all governments to invest in capacity building, recruitment, and training to achieve proportional representation of Inuit throughout public service in Inuit homelands.

16.34 Within the Nunavut Territory, we call upon the federal and territorial governments to fully implement the principles and objectives of Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Proportional representation is an imperative in the arenas of public services and, in particular, the child welfare system, social services, the criminal justice system, police services, the courts, and corrections throughout Inuit Nunangat.

16.35 We call upon the federal government and the Province of Quebec to ensure the intent and objectives of the policing provisions of the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement are fully implemented, including Inuit representation, participation, and control over policing services within Nunavik. The federal government and the government of Quebec must ensure the Kativik Regional Police Force (KRPF) is resourced and provided with the legal capacity to provide Nunavik Inuit with effective and substantively equitable policing services. Urgent investments are required to ensure that the KRPF has the infrastructure and human resource capacity to meet its obligations to provide competent, Inuit-specific policing services.

16.36 We call upon all governments to ensure there are police services in all Inuit communities.

16.37 We call upon all governments within Inuit Nunangat to amend laws, policies, and practices to reflect and recognize Inuit definitions of “family,” “kinship,” and “customs” to respect Inuit family structures.

16.38 We call upon all service providers working with Inuit to amend policies and practices to facilitate multi-agency interventions, particularly in cases of domestic violence, sexualized violence, and poverty. Further, in response to domestic violence, early intervention and prevention programs and services must be prioritized.

16.39 We call upon all governments to support and fund the establishment of culturally appropriate and effective child advocacy centres like the Umingmak Centre, the first child advocacy centre in Nunavut, throughout the Inuit homeland.

16.40 We call upon all governments to focus on the well-being of children and to develop responses to adverse childhood experiences that are culturally appropriate and evidence based.
This must include but is not limited to services such as intervention and counselling for children who have been sexually and physically abused.

16.41 We call upon governments and Inuit representative organizations to work with Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to identify barriers and to promote their equal representation within governance, and work to support and advance their social, economic, cultural, and political rights. Inuit women, Elders, youth, children, and 2SLGBTQQIA people must be given space within governance systems in accordance with their civil and political rights.

16.42 We call upon the federal government to ensure the long-term, sustainable, and equitable funding of Inuit women’s, youths’, and 2SLGBTQQIA people’s groups. Funding must meet the capacity needs and respect Inuit self-determination, and must not be tied to the priorities and agenda of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.

16.43 We call upon all governments and service providers within the Inuit homelands to ensure there are robust oversight mechanisms established to ensure services are delivered in a manner that is compliant with the human rights and Indigenous rights of Inuit. These mechanisms must be accessible and provide for meaningful recourse.

16.44 We call upon all governments to ensure the collection of disaggregated data in relation to Inuit to monitor and report on progress and the effectiveness of laws, policies, and services designed to uphold the social, economic, political, and cultural rights and wellbeing of Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Monitoring and data collection must recognize Inuit self-determination and must be conducted in partnership with Inuit. Within any and all mechanisms established to oversee and monitor the implementation of the National Inquiry’s recommendations, we call upon all governments to ensure the equitable and meaningful involvement of Inuit governments and representative organizations, including those of Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

16.45 We call upon the federal government to acknowledge the findings of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and to work to implement the recommendations therein in partnership with Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Inuit of the Qikiqtaaluk region.

16.46 Many people continue to look for information and the final resting place of their lost loved one. The federal government, in partnership with Inuit, has established the Nanilavut project. We recognize the significance of the project as an important step in healing and Inuit self-determination in the healing and reconciliation process. We call upon the federal government to support the work of the Nanilavut project on a long-term basis, with sustained funding so that it can continue to serve Inuit families as they look for answers to the questions of what happened to their loved ones. We further insist that it must provide for the option of repatriation of the remains of lost loved ones once they are located.