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Delilah Saunders on why families should come first

It seems logical that survivors and families should be contacted before politicians in regards to a national public inquiry. These families have lost sleep and quality of life due to the negligence of authorities and media. Generations have been stolen, and concerned family and community members turned away and told their loved ones weren't, as former Prime Minister Stephen Harper put it, "high on our radar."

Families have had to lay down the groundwork to try and seek justice and answers. They have lost peace of mind and security in a system that has given them the cold shoulder during the most distressing times of their lives. Including family members in the beginning process of an inquiry shows that efforts are finally being made to find their loved ones and to bring perpetrators to justice.

I was unable to cope during the two weeks my sister was missing. I can't fathom having to go years (in some cases decades) wondering where my beloved Loretta was; still there are thousands of family and community members who are living this very real nightmare. The mind reels in situations like this. Given Loretta's thesis topic on Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered, I still have thoughts of conspiracy surrounding her murder. While we will never get over the deaths and disappearances of our loved ones, we can be included in steps towards justice so the healing can begin.

A series of inquiry design meetings that include survivors and family members begins this week.  Meetings will take place across the country. Here’s the schedule:

Thunder Bay, Ontario on Jan. 6

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on Jan. 8

Whitehorse, Yukon on Jan. 11

Vancouver, B.C. on Jan. 13

Prince George, B.C. on Jan. 15

Halifax, N.S. on Jan. 20

Quebec City, Que. on Jan. 21, and

Montreal, Que., Jan. 22.

What do you think? Should survivors, families and community members be at the forefront of this inquiry?

Image via aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

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