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Editorial: Distraction further dishonours victims

Click here to view original web page at thestarphoenix.com

Click here to view original web page at Editorial: Distraction further dishonours victims

Senator Lillian Dyck speaks during the opening ceremonies for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon, November 20, 2017. We need to keep our eye on the ball when it comes to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women […]


Senator Lillian Dyck speaks during the opening ceremonies for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon, November 20, 2017.

We need to keep our eye on the ball when it comes to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

It is expected, and important, that there is vigorous debate around this important report. What cannot get lost, however, is the central duty of the inquiry, which is telling the stories of women, children and families who have been abused and killed at a rate much higher than the general population. The inquiry uncovered the names of 1,200 women who are known to have been murdered, or who have disappeared, but there is no real way to arrive at a definitive number.

There may be an ongoing argument about whether or not this is “genocide”, but we should not argue about whether there is a clear threat to Indigenous women and children that needs attention. To see their stories overshadowed would be deeply disrespectful.

There is also much talk of the fact this report could join others gathering dust on a shelf. On this point, we all have a part to play in ensuring this cynical possibility does not play out. Reflecting on how to personally address reconciliation regarding the MMIWG is important for citizens of this province and this country. This, for the record, includes media outlets such as the one presenting this editorial.

Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray is a leader in this regard, as he is willing to accept past errors, and shows a willingness to tackle issues as they emerge. “I think it’d be naive for me to think that we haven’t got work to do,” Bray said. “We do. We definitely do.”

The report reflects current, not just historic events. Right now, Jenaya Mary Wapemoose, a 22-year-old woman originally from Cowessess First Nation, has been missing since April 7. There is nothing theoretical about the facts laid out in the report for her family and friends. They are living out its painful truth every day, and deserve to know people are joining them in their search.

Cuthand honoured

It seems an appropriate moment to honour longtime Regina Leader-Post/Saskatoon StarPhoenix columnist Doug Cuthand in this space, at this moment in Saskatchewan history.

On Tuesday, Cuthand was awarded Saskatchewan’s highest honour, the Order of Merit, for his more than three decades of work as a print, radio and video journalist. He tirelessly advocates for the rights of Indigenous people in the province, and we are proud to have him as part of the Postmedia Saskatchewan family.

Congratulations Doug, and we wish you many more years of speaking truth — even when it is uncomfortable — to our audiences.

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