Daughter of Anna Mae Aquash looking forward to telling her story to #MMIWG Inquiry

The daughter of Anna Mae Aquash, who was murdered in South Dakota in the 1970’s is welcoming the chance to finally tell her mother’s story before the national inquiry.

The daughter of Anna Mae Aquash, who was murdered in South Dakota in the 1970’s is welcoming the chance to finally tell her mother’s story before the national inquiry.

“I’ve personally been working on my mom’s case for 20 years,” said Denise Pictou-Maloney who is also the inquiry’s community relations liaison.

The inquiry into murdered and missing women and girls began registering families in the Halifax area Tuesday.

It’s in preperation of the upcoming hearings in October.

“It’s a 42 year old case,” said Pictou-Maloney. “There’s been a lot of neglect there, systematic neglect, you know, from the very day that my mom went missing.”

Anna Mae Aquash was killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in early 1976.

Two men were convicted of her murder.

Pictou-Maloney said her family can now officially document her mother’s case.

“Because we’ve never had that opportunity where we get to say what has happened to our family in one place and have it encapsulated,” she said.

Pictou-Maloney said she’s downplaying calls for a reset of the national inquiry as some families have demanded.

“With an organization people come, people go,” she said. “I never felt there was any delay or any kind of controversy, criticisms I guess based on what I knew to be true as a family member.”

The inquiry’s director of health is also in Halifax.

Terrellyn Fearn is the interim director of community relations after the recent departure of Waneek Horn Miller.

She said she does feel some pressure.

“But really the pressure is not about the stress of it, it’s around the responsibility,” she said. “And the responsibility of all of us, not just those working the but everyone really wanting this to succeed.”

Fearn said she views the criticism of the inquiry as being constructive.

“In addition, think there’s a lot of things that we’re doing really well,” said Fearn. “So it’s a matter of weaving those two together to really get a better sense of what is the right way and the right process to move ahead.”

Click here for information on inquiry: Participation in National Inquiry

As of Tuesday, 550 families have registered.

Pictou-Maloney said she believes families still want an inquiry.

“Until you know collectively hear from a thousand, 1200 families or whatever the number is expected in this country, they don’t want it,” she said.

“Then, until I’m told to stop, I’ll keep going.”

Registration for the inquiry continues Wednesday in Membertou First Nation on Cape Breton Island.

Contribute Button  

3 thoughts on “Daughter of Anna Mae Aquash looking forward to telling her story to #MMIWG Inquiry

  1. Maggie Cywink says:

    550 does not mean
    550 out of the 1,200+ Families. It just means 550 people have registered. That can mean a few things:
    1) Survivors of violence
    2) Several Family members have registered from one of the 1,200 MMIWG
    3) No clear metrics
    4) Families are now asking how to unregister

    National Inquiry’s numbers are squewed.

  2. Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – August 8th, 2017

    What is and what is not a hard-reset of a National Inquiry? What is an Indigenous-led, community-driven Inquiry?

    A hard reset does not mean the Inquiry will end. It will continue and all information collected as part of the process thus far will be honoured. No information or testimony from the Whitehorse hearings will be lost. In no way is a hard reset a dismantling of the National Inquiry.

    A hard-reset is what families have requested in order to restructure this Inquiry to get it right, to rebuild it in a good way, to build it with families and communities at its center and to grow it from a place of trust.

    Such a reset requires time for healing, ceremony, and for the provision of the much-needed supports that should have been available to families and communities from the outset to enable communities to organize, heal, and build the Inquiry.

    As was stated by a family member, “many will ask, ‘what assurance do we have that a new process won’t be similarly flawed?’ We have no expectations of an easy road ahead for this Inquiry. But we only have this historical moment to get the Inquiry right and it must be set out on a straight path, rooted in ceremony, community, and led by families and relations of MMIWGT2S.”

    With supports, the Inquiry will be rebuilt from the ground up, starting with the appointment of Commissioners that are recommended by families of MMIWGT2S. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own Indigenous decision making institutions” (Article 13). This Inquiry has failed to follow human rights protocols in honouring the families’ recommendations for the appointments of its Commissioners.

    Far from centering Indigenous knowledges, the Inquiry has been rooted in a colonial model that prioritizes a both Eurocentric medical and legal frameworks of “do no harm” and “truth gathering.” Such an approach is rooted in a broader culture of colonial violence that is inherently exploitative towards Indigenous peoples and causes ongoing trauma and violence for us as families of MMIWGT2S. These models have been prioritized above our natural orders that respect the spirits of our relations. It is in relation to one another that the possibilities of transforming cultures of violence rests. It is our right in our relations to express our intergenerational grief and root our healing in our own legal orders. An Indigenous-led process will be guided by known and trusted Indigenous leaders that have worked in our communities to make this Inquiry a national reality.

    To meet its mandate, the Inquiry must now undergo a hard reset and the current Commissioners must respectfully resign to create space for families and communities to heal from the colonial approach that was adopted and instituted. We need to reset this Inquiry and build it up – in a good way – from the communities directly affected by continued violence against Indigenous women, girls, trans and Two-Spirit people.

    The following priorities must be incorporated into resetting and restructuring this National Inquiry:

    1) The spirits of MMIWGT2S must be honoured.
    2) Voices and concerns of the families and loved ones must be heard and fully included in Inquiry processes.
    3) Supports are needed for families, relations, and communities to organize and build up the National Inquiry processes.
    4) The restructured process must be a human rights-based approach using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous human rights law. This requires going back to Parliament to revise the mandate of the Commission. We suggest that relying on an independent International Human Rights Body to guide the reset and restructuring process would ensure these commitments are honoured.
    5) People who have expert knowledge of Indigenous law and people who are trauma and violence informed, decolonial, and who are rooted in gender-based understandings must form the process of the Inquiry itself, including Indigenous people who have worked at the grassroots level to develop knowledges in these areas.
    6) The regional and cultural specificity of Indigenous approaches to violence, justice, healing, and kinship must be central to the Inquiry.
    7) There must be put into place immediately a National Plan of Action that includes supports for healing and community-led responses.

Comments are closed.