Over the last three days in Saskatoon, family members like Sheila Ladoux spoke in public and in private about what happened to her loved ones – and why changes to the justice system are needed.
“When you’re going through the justice system and you have zero support this is what happens,” Ladoux said. “People like John Crawford gets 25 years and it’s three lives that are gone.”
Many of the families also said the justice system needs to change because it continues to fail Indigenous women and their families.
“They failed us there and I hope with these recommendations that the justice system doesn’t fail any more families,” she told the commissioners. “Families just don’t fall thru the cracks with the court system that their loved ones are looked at and are recognized.”
In total, about 80 people made it to Saskatoon to speak at the hearings.
Concerns were raised there would have been more family members if they had the means of getting to the inquiry to speak their truth.
Danielle Ewewin said some family members are still waiting to be reimbursed for travel.
“For the most part they come from the lowest social economic groups in the country,” she said. “They weren’t’ given the financial support to come on their own and it has caused some anxiety it makes them feel to be put into positioned to ask its embracing and they end up feeling humiliated.”
The Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations addressed the inquiry in the morning – and said he supports the inquiry’s call for an extension.
“I put the request into Marion Buller that should this extension happen that we go to the remote and northern communities,” said Bobby Cameron.
“Because there are so many people that cant come here and share their stories because they don’t’ have transportation and they don’t have means to get here.”
The commissioners said if the need is great enough, they’ll send statement gatherers into communities.
The inquiry’s next stop is in eastern Quebec and the home of commissioner Michele Audette.