NEWS

MMIW Inquiry Director Resigns, Prompting Call For Answers For Families

The Native Women's Association of Canada says families need reassurance that the national inquiry is not in jeopardy.

07/04/2017 07:59 EDT | Updated 07/04/2017 07:59 EDT

OTTAWA — An Aboriginal group is calling on organizers of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to be more transparent about how the process will move forward with the resignation of its executive director.

The inquiry issued a statement Friday afternoon saying its executive director Michele Moreau would be officially leaving July 21 for personal reasons. They have not said when a new executive will be hired.

The Native Women's Association of Canada says a several other executives and staff have quit in recent months, and families need reassurance that the national inquiry is not in jeopardy.

The inquiry already held a session with families in Whitehorse in the spring, but has yet to schedule dates in other communities.

Chris Wattie / Reuters
Aboriginal activists pray outside the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Ottawa February 27, 2015.

The association's president, Francyne Joe, says this could be a pivotal moment to bring in new leadership as the inquiry reviews its process.

Officials with the national inquiry did not respond to requests for comment.

Joe suggested that the new executive director should either be two-spirited, transgender or a woman with Indigenous ties, adding that the position should be filled before September.

"I don't think we need to see another lawyer filling this type of position," she said. "We need to see somebody who is well organized, who is able to communicate on a normal, one-to-one basis with families."

People need reassurance of support: Joe

Joe said there are leaders within Indigenous communities who would be strong candidates for the job.

She said the meetings with families in Yukon went well but those people need to know they'll continue to receive support.

"I think the commissioners need to come out immediately and have a proper press release so they can reassure families that they are still going to be moving forward," she said.