LETTER: First Nations Summit withdrawal from Missing Women Commission of Inquiry
Your Commission appointed Robyn Gervais as Independent Legal Counsel for Aboriginal interests. We had no role or any say in this matter. She has now withdrawn as Independent Legal Counsel. We find it extremely disturbing that she has had to take this drastic step.
The First Nations Summit applied for standing and was granted Limited Participant status. Despite the fact the government failed completely to provide any financial resources to our and all other First Nations/Aboriginal organizations, we did what we could to participate.
On October 12, 2011 on behalf of the First Nations Summit we submitted a comprehensive Statement to your Inquiry (see enclosed). We want to reiterate our full support for the families of all those women who are missing and murdered. They need to see that justice is not only seen to be done, but that it is done and that the many questions they have are answered fully. The voices of these families and that of our communities must be respected and heard.
We come to the conclusion, given all these developments, together with the conduct of the Inquiry, including your statements to Robyn Gervais today, those voices are not being respected or heard. This continues to reflect what we said in our Statement, a systemic pattern of discrimination. We feel the Inquiry will not be able to fulfill a critical part of its mandate.
Our continued participation has always been subject to review by our Executive and Chiefs. Unfortunately, the fears expressed by our Chiefs and leaders at the outset of this process, have been confirmed. Given the withdrawal of, and the reasons provided by, the Independent Legal Counsel, Robyn Gervais, today and the withdrawal of all First Nations/Aboriginal organizations earlier in the process, we feel we cannot continue to participate. Effective today, we withdraw from participation in this Inquiry. We will seek alternative ways for the voices of the familiesthe missing and murdered women and our communities to be heard and respected.
FIRST NATIONS SUMMIT TASK GROUP
Grand Chief Edward
John Chief Douglas White III Kwulasultun