August 9, 2012
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today offered condolences to the family and friends of the late Tanya Nepinak, reiterating the urgent need to address the many unresolved cases of missing and murdered women and ending violence against all Indigenous peoples.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nepinak family as we welcome the decision of the Winnipeg Police Service to conduct a thorough search for the remains of Tanya Nepinak that we hope will help provide some closure on this tragic incident,” said AFN National Chief Atleo, further supporting a call by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs for a seat on the executive steering committee of Project Devote – a Manitoba task force currently investigating the cases of eight missing persons and 20 homicide victims.
“I offer my full support to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs call for a seat on the executive steering committee of the Project Devote task force due to the over-representation of murdered and missing persons being of Aboriginal ancestry and the support for greater accountability to the families and communities,” said National Chief Atleo.
Thousands of people made a public declaration to live violence free and to achieve safety and security for all Indigenous peoples by signing a banner at the 2012 AFN Annual General Assembly last month. This same banner was signed by Indigenous leaders and provincial and territorial leaders (Premiers) prior to the Council of the Federation meeting in Nova Scotia July 25, 2012.
“The broader community is hearing us, and supporting our movement to achieve safety and security for our peoples,” said National Chief Atleo. “In support of the many families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, we will not back down. The $10 million over two years committed by the government to improve law enforcement and target the needs of Indigenous women have minimal, if any tangible results for our families. We will be steadfast in our efforts to end violence to and among our peoples, particularly the most vulnerable.”
The families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Manitoba have been advocating for a special task force since 2009. AFN consistently advocates in support of First Nation individuals and families impacted by violence that seek justice, and for adequate and appropriate health supports and preventative measures to better ensure communities are safe.
First Nation leaders across Canada have made ending violence against women a national priority, hosting a national justice forum in February of 2012 that culminated in a national strategy to end violence against Indigenous women and girls adopted by Chiefs-in-Assembly July 2012.
Project Devote Tip line: 1-888-673-3316.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates @AFN_Comms.
Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or e-mail [email protected]