APTN National News
The Assembly of First Nations says it should be involved in developing the scope of the upcoming inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and up until Thursday the Trudeau government has been shutting them out.
British Columbia Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson said the AFN was not consulted at all about the national inquiry’s draft terms of reference, published by APTN Tuesday, nor was it involved in any other details including choosing commissioners.
Gottfriedson leads the AFN’s portfolio on missing and murdered Indigenous women and went public with his concerns Thursday.
Soon after he says he got a call from the federal government to arrange a sit-down meeting between AFN representatives and senior federal officials including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff.
“It’s a huge oversight,” Gottfriedson said in an interview.
“If they’re talking about a nation-to-nation and new relationship with First Nations, there should be input from native organizations. It’s not so much that we’ve been left out, but everybody’s been left in the dark.”
Gottfriedson said the meeting is in the planning stages right now but he is trying to involve the AFN women’s council and plans to push the government to ensure inquiry commissioners have power to fully examine police.
“We want to make sure the terms of reference are solid enough. … The intent is really about working openly and transparently. It’s really about our families,” he said.
The federal government has said it’s “very close” to announcing the inquiry, which has faced delays.