• Raising awareness: Community action in Algonquin Territory on November 3, 2015. Picture: Nancy Johnson (Facebook)Source: Facebook
First steps towards getting answers into the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal Canadian women begin in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Andrea Booth

6 Jan 2016 - 3:51 PM  UPDATED 6 Jan 2016 - 4:40 PM

The families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women are this week meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu to help formulate a national public inquiry. 

The pre-inquiry meetings described as "engagement events", come after last month's launch of 'The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls' by President Justin Trudeau in response to the high rate of murder of Indigenous women.

Between 1980 and 2012 sixteen percent of Indigenous women were murdered despite making up just 4 percent of the population, according to Canadian Government data.

In an official statement, the Canadian Government says it, “understands that a meaningful national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls must only be designed after hearing the ideas and perspectives of survivors, families, loved ones, Indigenous organisations and communities, provinces and territories, and experts.” 

The Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Secretariat emailed families and other loved ones to participate in preparation sessions last week.

“The orientation sessions are to allow participants to meet each other and prepare them for the session with the ministers by discussing the kind of information needed from participants in order to inform an inquiry process,” Margaret Buist, director general of the secretariat, wrote in the email as quoted by CBC.

An online survey has been provided for those who cannot attend.

“We need to hear from all Canadians, especially survivors, families and loved ones, Indigenous organizations, and provinces and territories – to help us identify the best process for this inquiry.”

More meetings have been scheduled over January.

•Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: January 8, 2016

•Whitehorse, Yukon: January 11, 2016

•Vancouver, British Columbia: January 13, 2016

•Prince George, British Columbia: January 15, 2016