Yesterday’s News: 3 days of heartbreaking testimony at MMIWG hearing
Nunatsiaq News’ weekly look through its front pages from the past 50 years
It must have been so hard to speak the words.
Five years ago, in February 2018, the commission leading the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held hearings in Rankin Inlet.
Numerous people spoke over the three days. As Nunatsiaq News’ front-page story on March 2, 2018, reported, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada president Rebecca Kudloo said she had never seen so many Nunavummiut reveal their stories of pain and loss in one place.
“Things have to change; if we don’t get healing for our people, the abuse and trauma will continue,” Kudloo said, calling the hearings “a start.”
Nunatsiaq News is looking back through some old front pages as the paper celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, after starting out as a community newsletter called Inukshuk in 1973.
The MMIWG hearings may have been a start, but the journey for justice continues.
May 5 was Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People.
Also, June 3 will mark four years since the 2019 release of the final report of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Nunatsiaq News reported then that the report found “the staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada amount to a form of race-based genocide.”
Another story from the front page of March 2, 2018, addresses another issue that remains in the news today: the fight to stop the spread of tuberculosis among Inuit.
The federal budget that year dedicated $27.5 million over five years to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat, plus a combined $482 million over 10 years for a national Inuit health survey and to address housing needs in Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and the Inuvialuit region.
Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, called it a good start at the time.
Of course, no one then could know that in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic would arrive and force a sudden, massive change in direction for public health activities toward fighting the spread of the virus.
So the fight against tuberculosis continues. The 2023 federal budget recently allocated another $16.2 million toward TB prevention in Inuit communities, spread over three years.
In other stories from the first week of March 2018, expansion of the men’s shelter in Iqaluit was being discussed, a report by the World Wildlife Fund-Canada found Nunavut spends $60 million annually to subsidize diesel fuel, and the amount of Arctic sea ice coverage in January was the lowest on record.