Edmonton advocates welcome details on inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women
But they stress all voices must be heard.
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Had events been slightly different, Amanda Gould might not be alive today.
“I do believe I’m a survivor,” she said.
Years ago, after Gould left a bad relationship, her former partner turned violent, and Gould was forced to move around so much to stay safe that she had to give up her daughter for a time.
But she survived, which gave the long-time Edmonton advocate a unique insight into the thousands of Indigenous women who have not survived in Canada.
Gould said she’s optimistic about new details about inquiry, announced Wednesday, but she’ll be watching to make sure the voices of families and grassroots activists are heard.
“I want to encourage families of the missing and murdered to come forward and be a part of the inquiry as much as they can, and if it hurts too much, to have someone speak on their behalf,” Gould said.
Of her own story of survival, Gould said she knows what struggles those who haven't made it have faced.
“I couldn’t get into shelters, because there’s a lack of shelters, I know about policing and not being believed, not being able to get a restraining order, so many areas that could be changed that could have helped me," she said.
Many families have spent years searching for answers about their loved ones, and Gould said it’s especially important that they come forward when the opportunity arises.
For Muriel Stanley Venne, founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, Wednesday’s announcement was bittersweet.
“It’s a great day for me, but its also very sad. I grieve for the families and the women and the loss to their communities,” she said.
She also stressed the need to make sure all voices are heard, including men.
“If they leave any part — police actions, community, the root causes, or the treatment of indigenous women in society — if they leave any of it out, they won’t have a good report.”