17 January

Kahnawake, January 17, 2017 – On January 14, Bernard Lefrançois tabled his coroners report following the public inquiry into the five suicides that occurred in the Innu community of Uashat mak Mani-utenam in 2015. Quebec Native Women is largely satisfied with the report that recognizes the apartheid system of the Indian Act as well as the intergenerational impacts of residential schools as the root cause of this tragedy.

QNW welcomes the news that the Government of Quebec and the Innu Band Council are committed to implementing the recommendations of the Coroner. The report reflects the alarming needs that Indigenous communities and organizations have been highlighting as an issue for far to long. Poverty, all forms of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and children in placement are issues that Indigenous peoples face disproportionally than non-Indigenous people in Quebec. It is essential that services and resources in the communities are culturally appropriate and accessible, and there needs to be a better coordination among the various stakeholders in order to put in place an effective monitoring mechanism. QNW is in agreement with the coroner’s position that implementing these recommendations will only be possible with adequate funding for communities.

“In 2015, MchLachlin CJ of Canada’s highest court said that Canada had perpetrated a cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples. Today, Coroner Lefrançois speaks of the apartheid system of the Indian Act. QNW agrees with both these statements and believes it is high time to take action. Acknowledging the existence of an apartheid system in Canada and the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples would be a step closer to true reconciliation and self-determination for Indigenous people “, states Viviane Michel, President of Quebec Native Women.