MMIWG hearing to start this morning in Iqaluit
Panels to look at socio-economic, health and wellness impacts of colonial violence
A public hearing organized by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is set to start this morning in Iqaluit, with at least five confirmed witnesses described as “knowledge keepers and experts.”
The hearing, scheduled to run until Thursday, Sept. 13 at the Frobisher Inn, will use three panels of expert witnesses to explore the social and health effects of colonial violence, the inquiry said in a notice late last month.
That means it will be different than the hearing that the commission conducted earlier this year in Rankin Inlet, where they heard directly from survivors of sexual and domestic violence and their families.
Members of each panel will be questioned by a commission lawyer and cross-examined by lawyers representing organizations that have standing with the inquiry, such as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.
The first panel, scheduled to run all-day Monday until Tuesday at noon, will feature three witnesses who live in Iqaluit.
One of them, Elisapee Davidee Aningmiuq, works with the Tukisigiarvik centre, which offers programs in Iqaluit aimed at helping people with socio-economic issues and cultural revitalization.
Davidee Aningmiuq has been a director of the Nunavut Law Foundation and won a 2016 Polar Medal.
At Tukisigiarvik, she helped develop cultural skills programs, teaching Inuit women how to make traditional clothing and properly soften skins.
Another witness on the first panel is Hagar Idlout-Sudlovenick, director of social development at the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
The third witness of the first panel on Monday and Tuesday is Inukshuk Aksalnik, the Qikiqtani Truth Commission coordinator at the QIA.
The second panel, scheduled to run from Tuesday afternoon until to Wednesday, will feature just one witness, Dr. Janet Smylie.
Smylie is a consulting family physician at Seventh Generation Midwives in Toronto and is considered an international leader of Indigenous health, according to the commission’s news release.
She worked with a network of Inuit organizations and individuals in Ottawa to produce a report, released this past January, on the health status of Inuit living in the city.
Her report found that Inuit who move to southern Canada do not receive better health care than Inuit who stay in the four regions of Inuit Nunangat.
She is currently a chair of applied public health research in Indigenous health knowledge and information at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
The third panel, scheduled to run from Wednesday to Thursday, will be on “Aboriginal Decolonizing and gendered Aboriginal Perspective.” As of late last week, this panel listed only one confirmed witness, Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour.
McNeil-Seymour is the elected family representative at the Traditional Family Governance Council for the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation and nominated speaker of the Secwepemc Nation, also known as the Shuswap, of southeastern British Columbia.
He is an assistant professor at Ryerson University in its School of Social Work.
The hearings are open to the public.