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City begins important work on response to MMIWG Calls for Justice

For immediate release: September 16, 2020 - 5:21pm
ST20-1566

The groundwork for the City’s response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice is outlined in a report to the Governance and Priorities Committee of City Council. The report to be presented at the Committee meeting Monday, September 21, provides an overview of current City initiatives relating to the National Inquiry and the approach for the development of a long-term strategy.

“Municipalities can play an important role in supporting and implementing programs and policies that answer the Calls for Justice,” says Melissa Cote, Director of Indigenous Initiatives. “Locally, by working together across the organization and with our community partners, we can make changes and act to address these issues.”

The report outlines current City initiatives that align with the Calls for Justice, such as the City’s “Little Sisters in Action Program,” working with community partners in their efforts to create safe spaces for Two-Spirit youth in ceremony and cultural spaces, “Safe Bus” basic training for City of Saskatoon staff, and contributing to the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership.

The long-term strategy will involve a wide range of community voices and organizations as well as involve a cross-functional team within the City’s various divisions and departments. The goal is to create a coordinated and holistic approach to address reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion as well as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA* people.

The outlined approach will include engaging with Indigenous matriarchs, individuals and families with lived experience, community-based organizations and leaders, academics and service delivery organizations.

Initial discussions have highlighted the importance of several principles and approach to the strategy, including:

  • A community-driven and citizen-centred approach that is flexible, responsive and respectful to the Indigenous community, organizations, families and individuals.
  • That responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action, the MMIWG2S Calls to Justice and work on Anti-Racism -- although linked -- remain distinct and separate.
  • The issues are complex and require a long-term strategy, while demonstrating short-term progress and outcomes.
  • It is important to support and not duplicate the work of other organizations.
  • The long-term strategy and actions should inform the provincial and national action plans.

A report will be provided in the future to City Council outlining the actions and projects included for implementation in the long-term strategy.

To view agendas, minutes and video for meetings of City Council, Boards & Committees, visit saskatoon.ca/agendas.

*Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual