News maker of 2017: MMIWG national inquiry
- EFN Staff | December 19, 2017
In the end it wasn’t even close. The National inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has had so much air time and spilled so much ink this year it was easily chosen by Eagle Feather News writers and faithful voting readers as the top newsmaker of 2017.
Beleaguered from the start, the Inquiry has had a terrible year that included the resignation of several key staff including Saskatchewan-based Commissioner Marilyn Poitras. In November when the Commission was in Saskatoon for three days of hearings, the Inquiry’s lawyer resigned and a staffer’s leaked email stated her priority is to protect the commissioners provided outside distraction from Saskatoon testimony from loved ones and survivors.
The Commission has been roundly criticized for the lack of after care for family members that testify, leaving volunteers in Saskatoon to fill the gap in the community. The Commission also refused to add a Prince Albert date and then cancelled their trip to the Yukon scheduled for the week after Saskatoon. It got worse at the Assembly of First Nations gathering in December where several Chiefs, including Sheila North Wilson, Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, directly asked lead Commissioner Marion Buller to resign. Tough year for those folks. Let’s hope for a great ending.
Amazingly this year, we had a three-way tie for second. The 60’s scoop settlement announcement has brought some closure to thousands of adoptees who were removed from their homes for sometimes no particular reason other than government policy. Sadly, the settlement leaves out Métis children who suffered the same fate. A group of adoptees including former MN-S President Robert Doucette has formed to lobby for inclusion.
The documentary Birth of a Family by Tasha Hubbard tells the story of Betty Ann Adam and her reunion with her siblings who were part of the 60’s scoop. The emotional and powerful film has opened the eyes of many to the long impacts of the policy.
Senator Lillian Dyck also got mention this year. A strong voice for Indigenous women on Parliament Hill, Senator Dyck has advocated on missing and murdered women and has been the lead in amending the Indian Act. The upcoming Bill S-3 that will eliminate the historic gender discrimination and see potentially hundreds of thousands of people get their Indian Status back. Amazing leadership.
Rounding out the News Makers this year is basketball superstar Michael Linklater. Mike has become the #1 3x3 basketball player in North America and was recently named most spectacular player of the 2017 World Tour season. Mike even brought the tour to Saskatoon and rocked downtown with three days of amazing world class basketball. He is the founder of Boys with Braids, is the 2018 Inspire Award recipient for sports and has just been named the Coaching and Officials Development Coordinator for the Coaches Association of Saskatchewan. And his home community just named him a “Hero of Thunderchild.” Not a bad year. Well done.