The provincial government says it is proud to participate in Canada’s National Action Plan responding to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) released Thursday.
The National Action Plan consists of information on work of provinces and territories to address the Calls to Justice from the National Inquiry. The Saskatchewan government has also released a Saskatchewan Response paper that provides more in-depth information on the province’s response to MMIWG.
“The National Inquiry provided an important voice to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” stated Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant in Thursday’s release. “Saskatchewan will continue to work with our federal, provincial and Indigenous partners to take action against gendered violence, foster healing for victims and survivors, and bring safety and justice to our communities.”
The government says highlights from the National Action Plan and Saskatchewan Response paper indicates the province invests significant resources in preventative, responsive and restorative initiatives in the areas of culture, health and wellness, human security and justice.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to pursuing meaningful, lasting reconciliation within the province,” wrote Minister Responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Don McMorris on Thursday.
“The grants made available through the Ministry of Government Relations’ First Nations and Métis Community Partnership program supported Indigenous community organizations to educate and raise awareness on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the causes of interpersonal violence in our province.”
According to the government, the province provides a number of services to support victims of interpersonal violence and abuse. These include housing and shelter assistance, culturally-informed child protection services, and education and awareness activities. As a recent example, the Face the Issue campaign – a multi-year public awareness effort translated into French, Cree, and Dene – challenges the attitudes and behaviours that contribute to interpersonal violence and abuse.
“Violence against Indigenous women and girls is unacceptable,” Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office Laura Ross stated. “The Status of Women Office continues to work closely with internal and external stakeholders to address gender-based violence and is committed to addressing the Calls for Justice outlined in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report.”
The government adds Saskatchewan has taken a number of steps to bring justice to Indigenous communities by working with Indigenous organizations to support a variety of restorative and community justice programs. Saskatchewan also participates in the Saskatchewan Missing Persons Partnership and facilitates the work of the Family Information Liaison Unit within the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.
Since January 2018, the province has appointed five judges who have self-declared as Indigenous, three of them women.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority works with knowledge keepers and traditional healers to deliver culturally-affirming health services. According to the release from the government, the province established a traditional medicine team in Regina and plans to expand its work to the rest of the province, so that Indigenous people in Saskatchewan will be able to include traditional healing as part of their healthcare.
“These policies and programs were developed to create meaningful and lasting change,” adds the government statement.