Yellowknife will host a key session in the run-up to the launch of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
On Friday, January 8, federal government officials will be in the Northwest Territories capital to meet with survivors, family members and loved ones of victims.
Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Indigenous and northern affairs, is expected to attend.
The session will be one of the first held outside Ottawa since the Liberals confirmed their intention to launch an inquiry, long resisted by the prior Conservative government.
“The Government of Canada believes that an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls can only be designed after hearing from those directly affected,” read a federal statement accompanying the announcement.
The federal government is calling January 8’s event an “inquiry design meeting”. Those who attend will be asked how they think the national inquiry should work, and how broad it should be in scope.
At meetings in Ottawa earlier in December, participants called for the inquiry to provide a ‘safe’ environment for those who wish to share their stories. With that in mind, reporters are set to be excluded from the preliminary session in Yellowknife.
In Ottawa, family members urged the federal government to ensure the inquiry examines the root causes of violence and abuse alongside the consequences.
“In general, the participants agreed that solving the problem of violence will be a long-term process,” noted a federal report on the opening Ottawa session.
“As such, efforts to address violence will need to be monitored, measured and supported. As time passes, attention should continue to focus on the needs and concerns of survivors, families and loved ones.”
Other sessions confirmed to date will take place in Thunder Bay, Whitehorse, Vancouver and Prince George, with more venues expected to be added.