‘A history of trauma’: Families of 2 missing women from Ontario First Nation address Thunder Bay MMIWG hearing

'A history of trauma': Families of 2 missing women from Ontario First Nation address Thunder Bay MMIWG hearing
'Why are we still kept in the dark?' MMIWG commissioner calls to reopen cases
Sarah was 12 years old when she was sent away from home in 1966, Mary says for breaking windows. The 2 sisters last saw each other in 1985 but didn’t speak, something Mary now wishes they did #MMIWGTears and hurt were in many cases so strong that you would have to have a heart of stone not to feel the complete anguish of the families who are attending the hearings to testify.Chief commissioner Marion Buller has already said commissioners will ask the federal government for an extension to the two-year inquiry.

The family of Sarah Skunk, who went missing in Thunder Bay, Ont., in 1995, testified at the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in the northwestern Ontario city. (Jorge Barrera / CBC)

'Why are we still kept in the dark?' MMIWG commissioner calls to reopen cases

Seeing the courage and the sorrow of the families of the murdered and missing women is to see the raw human emotion at its most personal, and yet the family members choose to take that grief forward into public, to seek real resolution, real solutions, and hopefully closure to their family trauma.

Inquiry officials said they had heard from 594 families and survivors during seven hearings held prior to their arrival in Northwestern Ontario this week. The three days in Thunder Bay, which includes both public and private sessions, were expected to receive input from another 50 families and survivors.

MMIWG inquiry commissioner says extension could mean new leadership

“We’ve been receiving that anger since the moment it was announced, legitimate anger, because the system failed and it’s still failing today. Am I going to lose my job because I say that – maybe. But I’ll sleep well because I have to say it. I’ve said it before and I will continue.”
Lilly Southwind is the oldest daughter of Viola Panacheese, who was last seen in Sioux Lookout in 1991. (Jorge Barrera / CBC)
‘Her file was lost’ Before commissioners heard about Sarah Skunk’s story, the inquiry heard from the family of Viola Panacheese. Lilly Southwind, her oldest child, said her parents had an on-again-off-again relationship for years, leading up to Panacheese’s disappearance.

There is a limited ability to take action at the local level, Gray-McKay said.

Imagine what could have been done with less money eaten up by bureaucracy.

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