Pauktuutit welcomes national plan on violence against Indigenous women

‘The implementation of this plan is critical in ending gender-based violence,’ says president Rebecca Kudloo

The federal government and Indigenous groups took part in a televised news conference Thursday for the release of a sweeping plan to address racism and violence faced by Indigenous women and girls across Canada. (Image courtesy of CIRNAC)

By Sarah Rogers

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is welcoming the federal government’s national action plan to address racism and violence faced by Indigenous women in girls across Canada.

“I’m happy with it,” said Rebecca Kudloo, president of the national Inuit women’s organization. “Because our Inuit working group worked really hard to bring out what’s needed in terms of action for our Inuit communities.”

The federal government, in collaboration with a national working group of Indigenous leaders, released the sweeping plan on Thursday.

It lays out short- and long-term priorities to end violence against Indigenous women, including public education campaigns, mental health services and trauma-informed training for those who provide them, the creation of safe shelters and sustainable housing as well as oversight bodies to represent survivors and their families.

The national plan comes in response to the 231 calls for justice laid out in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, released in 2019, that concluded that staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada amount to a form of genocide.

Thursday’s plan comes on the second anniversary of the report’s release.

“We accepted their findings, including that what happened amounts to genocide,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference Thursday morning.

“It contains truths that Canada is no longer trying to hide.”

The prime minister pledged to turn those calls into concrete, Indigenous-led action, with Ottawa’s $2.2 billion in financial support — funding announced in the 2021 budget.

The government released the report in collaboration with the National Action Plan Core Working Group, made up of Indigenous leadership from across the country.

The document also set out plans to establish a national task force to re-investigate unresolved files, in addition to a justice reform committee whose role it would be to review legislation.

The plan also seeks to improve research and data collection specific to the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women as well as the creation of a deputy commissioner to oversee Indigenous corrections.

But the action plan doesn’t list whose responsibility it would be to implement, nor does it assign a dollar value to each initiative.

The report does however commit the government to track its progress starting in 2022.

Pauktuutit and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, like other Indigenous groups, released their own report Thursday in response to the inquiry’s calls to justice.

The Inuit-specific plan calls for:

• more emergency shelters and transitional housing for Inuit women and girls in Inuit Nunangat and in urban centres with large Inuit populations
• increased social housing stock across the North
• federal investment in telecommunications infrastructure to bring high-speed internet to Inuit communities
• trauma-informed services and support
• investment in Inuit teacher recruitment and training
• the creation of a basic income model in partnership with Inuit
• Inuit-specific mental health services
• mandatory education and sensitivity training for non-Inuit RCMP officers, lawyers and correctional workers

For each item, Pauktuutit’s plan lays out responsibilities for provincial or territorial governments as well as how they can collaborate with Inuit land claim organizations on implementation.

“All those priority areas have been something we’ve been working on for quite a while and we’ll keep bringing it up,” Kudloo said. “We’re going to keep fighting for those things.”

“Violence against Inuit women and girls is not going to stop until we start to have healing; not only with women, but with men too,” she added.

“The implementation of this plan is critical in ending gender-based violence.”

Thursday’s event was marked by the recent discovery of a mass grave of Indigenous children — students at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

The intergenerational trauma and loss of culture that flowed from the legacy of residential schools was acknowledged Thursday as a major risk factor for Indigenous women.

“This week has been particularly heavy, as we’ve been forced to acknowledge the ongoing genocide of Indigenous people in this country,” said ITK president Natan Obed, who spoke at Thursday’s news conference.

“The systemic inequities that perpetuate the harm and violence against Indigenous women and all Indigenous peoples must end. We need not wait for another milestone to mark our progress.”

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Meanwhile, In the real world on

    The problem with “sensitivity” or “diversity training,” as those of us who pay attention to what goes on in the world have noticed and can tell you, is not only that it does not work, but that it has the opposite of its intended affect. Of course, that kind of a knowledge could not be expressed amidst the stifling kind of discussion and group think (for them, ‘elite think’) I can only imagine takes place between members of the mutual admiration society we see gathered above.

    Don’t believe me? Check it out:

    “Indeed, the science shows most diversity training programs are ineffective. Generally, they are provided to create the perception that an organization is taking a proactive stance towards acceptance and inclusion, regardless of how strongly management felt about the issue. What’s horrifying, though, is Peter Bregman’s claim, “Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it.”

      • Posted by Wow, Critical Thinking on

        You discredit the previous commenter’s source because it’s Huffington Post even though the article references work done by scholars at Harvard, MIT, and Tel Aviv Univeristy, and you counter with an article written by an unknown author on the blog of a company that sells diversity training?
        And then you share a webpage about Huffington Posts credibility that is based on people’s opinions of whether or not it’s credible? Not only that, but more people answered that they viewed Huffington Post as credible than not credible.
        You’re a special type.

  2. Posted by Withheld on

    My experience with people toating ‘ end violence against women’ is pure hypocricy. Having posts like this on their facebook and all the while chacing around married man. Do people join these groups as a facade, because i truely dont believe they practice what they preech. J.k.

    • Posted by iThink on

      There is a balance that needs to be tended here. Some people do use these things to performatively, while many others (perhaps the majority?) are quite sincere. The idea that ‘gender-based violence’ can be eliminated is questionable in and of itself, of course. And it is important to at least consider the incentives here for those involved (some use the term ‘stakeholders’ here).

      For example, Pauktuutit exists to further the rights and protection of women. Does this mean they have an interest in the perpetuation of violence? No… but, in a way they do need issues worth working on to maintain their raison d’etre. What to do? Expand the scope of their concerns? Expand the definition of violence, maybe? I’m not sure… but it’s worth at least considering how incentives can play into their mission (if you would agree at least part of their mission is to continue functioning in perpetuity).

  3. Posted by Gender Based Violence on

    The term “gender-based violence” is very misleading, because the majority of the time it’s not referring to the root of the problem. It’s defined as armful acts directed at an individual based on their gender, and although this does exist, it’s not nearly to the same degree that the term is used for.
    Most often when people are referencing gender-based violence, they mean domestic violence, or at least are including domestic violence. Women are disproportionately the victims of violence in domestic cases, but the cause of the violence is not rooted in gender. If you look at abuse and violence in both gay and lesbian relationships, they are very similar or even higher than same-sex relationships. So the violence is not gender-based, it is relationship-based, and the women tend to be the victims of physical abuse more often because they are in general the physically smaller and/or weaker partner.
    I have serious doubts in supposed leaders trying to end gender-based violence that don’t understand correlation and causation.

    • Posted by iThink on

      To echo my comments above and tie them into this, your observation about the use of the term ‘gender based violence’ is an excellent one.

      If your mission (as is Pauktuutit’s) is to notice and draw attention to disparities and injustices based on gender then the configuration of male and female in any setting is where you will look and whatever the dynamics at play you are sure to find it: that is, to interpret whatever you see as ‘gender based’. So, whatever is happening is happening primarily because of gender. There’s a saying that resonates here; when all you have is a hammer, everything appears as a nail.

      An analogy to this is the charge of racism that surfaces every time a cop interacts with the member of a minority group and where the cop uses force. There are undoubtedly cases where the use of force is excessive and there are undoubtedly cases of racism, but the automatic attribution of racism to this dynamic in all cases has completely distorted the conversation around race as it has around policing issues.

      Of course to point out these threads is to be labelled all sorts of bad words; a racist, a misogynist, any kind of bad faith reading that will render not only your points, but you, as ‘bad’ ensures your ideas don’t need to be addressed or even mused about in public.

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