I delivered a response on behalf of the BC Green Caucus to a Ministerial Statement by Hon. Murray Rankin on the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirited, and Gender Diverse People.
This statement was written by and delivered in the voice of Gud Takin Jaad (Rose Williams) who is Haida and a member of the BC Green Caucus legislative team.
HÍSW̱ḴE SIÁM. Thank you Mr. Speaker. HÍSW̱ḴE MEQ SAN Thank you to all the members of this House.
Thank you to the minister for his powerful words. Thank you to the member for the official opposition.
I’m honoured to stand today and share some words on the National Day of Action for Missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, two-spirit and gender-diverse people. These words have been written by Gud Takin Jaad, Rose Williams, who is a member of our legislative staff:
“March 21, 2020 was the last day my relative, Shaylanna Lewis-Brown, was seen. Her disappearance provoked a wave of heartache, fear and tears throughout the communities on Haida Gwai and beyond. Each year, when the anniversary of Shaylanna’s disappearance, the day of awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls or the day of action come around, I’m reminded of this pain.
“Shaylanna’s family and our community are still seeking answers. Her mother drives through towns across the province and responds to potential sightings, driven by an unwavering motivation to find her daughter or someone who might know something. It’s been over 18 months since Shaylanna disappeared, and we still have no answers.
“This experience is not unique to my community. The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls states that we are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other women in Canada. The national inquiry is clear. This is genocide. Our communities have seen, time and again, a lack of action and accountability from institutions across the province. We’ve seen with the cases of Carsyn Mackenzie Seaweed and Chelsea Poorman. We’ve become accustomed to the tepid response from police to the disappearances of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.
“All major institutions in this country — the federal and provincial governments, the RCMP, the justice systems — were built to undermine, diminish and destroy the first peoples of these lands. Despite many challenges and improvements over the years, we as Indigenous people continue to feel the devastating legacy of colonial policies and institutions. The national inquiry’s 231 calls for justice outline transformative actions that must be taken to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Indigenous peoples.
“The thousands of missing and murdered, including Carol Ruby Davis, Shaylanna Lewis-Brown, Carsyn Mackenzie Seaweed, Morgan Harris, Lisa Marie Young and Chelsea Poorman are reminded that we must do more to protect our communities. We deserve respect. We deserve safety and we deserve justice.
All governments in this country, including each person seated in this chamber have a duty to take real action. You are tasked to transform the systems and institutions that have allowed these horrors to continue. Today and every day, we hope, we pray, and we fight for institutional change and for our dear ones to return home and for no more stolen sisters.