Saik'uz First Nation

August 02, 2011 14:41 ET

Missing Women Commission of Inquiry: Chief Accuses Government of "Redwashing"; Says Commission Seeks "Palatable Answers" Rather Than a Full and Open Inquiry

VANDERHOOF, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2011) - Chief Jackie Thomas of the Saik'uz (sigh-cuz) First Nation has serious doubts about BC's Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, saying the commission appears more interested in "redwashing" and "palatable answers" than a full and open inquiry.

The Saik'uz First Nation has experienced half-a-dozen "close calls" including kidnappings along the infamous "Highway of Tears".

"My doubts about the true intentions of this Commission have grown in recent months," says Chief Thomas. "Commission staff have left me with the impression that they are more interested in being seen to have consulted with First Nations leaders, than actually meeting with the families who have lost relatives."

The Chief has identified three key issues that undermine the Commission's integrity:

1) Inadequate funding to ensure that ALL groups who have lost women and have had "close calls" can fully participate in the hearings and share their stories.

2) The Commission's decision to hold political "meet and greet" meetings with First Nations leaders rather than using scarce resources to hold hearings directly with the families involved.

3) The Commission's decision to consult with local area mayors and First Nations leaders separately, dividing communities and compartmentalizing the issue.

Until the Commission addresses these issues, it will not be welcome in the Saik'uz community. "We will not be part of redwashing this Commission to justify its existence, or aid its search for palatable answers," says Thomas.

Contact Information

  • Saik'uz First Nation
    Chief Jackie Thomas
    (o) (250) 567-9293 or (c) (250) 567-8048