Former chief hopeful for MMIW inquiry

By Jill Sperling
August 3, 2016 - 3:56pm Updated: August 3, 2016 - 5:40pm

KAMLOOPS — Calls for a national into missing and murdered Indigenous women have rung out for more than a decade. 

For friends and family of loved ones who have been killed or disappeared it's a relief to see the federal government finally taking the action they have long hoped for. 

Former chief of the Whispering Pines-Clinton Indian Band, Michael LeBourdais says there have been calls for an inquiry since 2002. 

Of the thousands of women who have gone missing or been murdered in that time some were his own family members. 

"I have eight sisters and we all wonder what happened to our cousins because they're missing," LeBourdais said. "One of my best friends was murdered and it was never solved - in Chilliwack, she was from Lillooet but she died in Chilliwack, and there's nothing. Nothing ever came of it." 

LeBourdais says the federal government is finally taking the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women seriously. He hopes there will be some strong recommendations coming out of the inquiry to address a problem that he feels has long been swept under the rug.

"It's crazy that you have 2,000 murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls, whereas if it was on the non-native side the number would be like 50,000 or 70,000, it would be ridiculous," LeBourdais said. "There would be an outcry, a public outcry, bringing in the army to find the killers and stuff like that. And so the inquiry for us is very important that way, and then also there's some solutions, how do you take care of this problem?"

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