Earlier this week the inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls got underway with the lighting of a sacred fire and a feast in Whitehorse, Yukon.
The naming of the commissioners in September of 2016 coincided with an announcement regarding funding for provincial and territorial Family Information Liaison Units (FILU).
A FILU would allow families of murdered and missing Indigenous women to work directly with government agencies to collect information about their loved ones. The units are also designed to provide families with culturally-responsive and trauma-informed community based services.
Regina Treaty and Status Indian Services director Erica Beaudin said she recently had conversations with government officials about the future of FILU in Saskatchewan.
“We were told [on May 30] they’ve received the funding… They’re hoping to be operational mid-summer,” Beaudin said. “Once they get the staff in, they’re planning on attending family gatherings as well as community events in order to basically educate [about their job.]”
Funding for provincial governments was made available between September 1, 2016 and March 31, 2019.
In an email response, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said staff is still working with the federal Department of Justice to finalize staffing and logistics, but could not provide any further details.
The federal department confirmed funding for the provincial FILU in Saskatchewan has been approved.
In an email, the spokesperson added the FILU will help Indigenous persons in “understanding the roles and processes of the various criminal justice sector and stakeholder agencies in relation to their missing and or murdered family member.”
In August of 2016, the federal Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould announced an additional $16.7 million over three years to support victim services on a national level, which helped create the FILU program.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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