NFSC Contribution to the National Action Plan
The Path Forward – Reclaiming Power and Place
“The Path Forward – Reclaiming Power and Place” is the NFSC contribution to the National Action Plan (NAP) and is independent from the Core Working Group and the Sub-working Groups. In our contribution, we provide the position, perspectives, and priorities of the NFSC members with respect to the Calls for Justice and the NAP. We outline best practices on how to include families and survivors. We advocate for the recognition of the agency and the leadership of families and survivors in their Nations and communities. Further, we outline our expectations of all those with obligations and responsibility to take action to end the genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
National Family and Survivors Circle Approach and Contribution to the National Action Plan
The National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice includes calls directed at all governments, institutions, and all Canadians, and includes distinct Inuit, Métis and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Calls for Justice. The Supplementary Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Kepek-Quebec further includes 21 Calls for Justice. The Final Report provided seven Principles for Change to guide implementation of the Calls for Justice. Key amongst these are the principles of a Decolonizing Approach and Inclusion of Families and Survivors. These are at the foundation of our approach. We also provide our understanding of these principles in keeping with centering lived experience. Based on our experience with the NAP process so far, we have developed Four Pillars which provide guidance on how to work ethically with families and survivors and how to respect their expertise, lived experience and agency.
The Four Pillars
For our NFSC contribution in the NAP, we are focusing on the implementation of the Calls for Justice and grounding the implementation work in the Principles for Change. Using our lived experience, expertise, and agency, we have developed Four Pillars for working with families and survivors. We offer them as guiding principles on how to action one of the most important Principles for Change: the inclusion of families and survivors. The Four Pillars are inclusion, interconnectedness, accountability, and impact.
The NFSC believes these Four Pillars for working with families and survivors are fundamental in properly applying the Principles for Change related to the inclusion of families and survivors as defined in the Final Report. They must further inform the Guiding Principles as defined in section 2.2 of the National Action Plan.
As the members of the NFSC we believe that all the Calls for Justice are priorities. That said, we recognize the challenges with coordinated implementation and the need to be strategic in order to be effective. Therefore, we have identified actions and the corresponding Calls for Justice that we believe require immediate action. Although the Calls for Justice are organized by the four rights areas of Culture, Health and Wellness, Human Security and Justice, we believe that these Calls for Justice are interconnected and for the implementation of one Call for Justice to be successful, implementation of the other Calls for Justice are required at the same time. The Calls for Justice are interconnected and inseparable. In addition to the four rights areas, we have identified foundational Calls for Justice that are overarching, that further require immediate action as well. We remind you that implementation of the Calls for Justice must be done with families and survivors included as per the Principles for Changes and the Four Pillars. Further, the production and publication of family and survivor inclusion reports must become common practice among all governments, agencies, organizations, institutions, for all those engaging in work on the issue of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
The Path Forward
The development of the NAP has been challenging at times. That said, it has been ground-breaking to have so many partners at the table working towards the common goal of ending race and gender-based violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Through this process governments, Indigenous organizations, the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, urban Indigenous community and families and survivors have worked together. This is important as we all know the solutions, and all carry an obligation to work towards transformative change through decolonization. We must do this work grounded in equitable, dignified, and respectful relationships and from a position of strength.
As the holders of expert knowledge and experience, the NFSC members and all families and survivors, are all subject matter experts. Our expertise is the evidence upon which decisions need to be made. We are prepared to work with all partners to coordinate and validate efforts. All families that want to be part of the process must be provided pathways for engagement with partners in the NAP implementation work to come. Mutual and clear understanding of structure, process, roles and responsibilities now and moving forward will be key to supporting relationships. Families and survivors must see their expertise and agency in processes and in the outcomes. This cannot be limited to the NFSC: all families and survivors, especially families and survivors from distinct Nations, Peoples, and communities, should see their expertise and agency inform and be included by partners responsible for implementation of the NAP and the Calls for Justice. Further, their inclusion must respect their agency, freedom and independence of thought, perspective, and beliefs. When families and survivors are engaged through various pathways, these pathways, and the work to be done transparently will provide certainty of roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
As the members of the NFSC we take our role in this process as a sacred responsibility. We know that we have the lived experience and expertise to bring about transformative change through decolonization.
The NAP development process has centered families and survivors in a way that starts to honour our experience, expertise, and agency. As the NFSC members we remain committed to this process and we remind all partners to think about how we work together. We all know that to make transformative change, and real impacts, we need to work in transformative and decolonizing ways. We must continue to see decolonizing approaches in process and relationships to ensure we are creating transformative change through decolonization for our women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, families, and survivors.
As we move into the work of implementation of the NAP and the Calls for Justice, families and survivors must remain central to informing the work and evaluating success. We have provided a path forward to guide our collective efforts. The Principles for Change must guide the work of implementation, and the Four Pillars must guide the pathways for families and survivors to remain centered in the work. This is the path towards ending the genocide through decolonization.
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’
Toll-free Support Phone Line
For immediate mental and emotional wellness support, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ toll-free support phone line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.
First Nations and Inuit
Hope for Wellness
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line provides culturally-grounded assessment, referrals, support in times of crisis, and suicide intervention. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in English, French, Ojibway, Cree and Inuktitut.