Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit and the Role of Colonization

After a viewing of the MMIWG Inquiry Live Stream, Feminists Deliver began day one with a press conference where Indigenous women and allies respond to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Emceed by Rhiannon Bennett from Hummingbirds Rising, we thank Sharon McIvor, Lorelei Williams, Sophie Merasty, Summer Rain Bentham, Anita Lucchesi, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

Butterflies In Spirit

Founded in 2012, Butterflies in Spirit is a dance group consisting of family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). The Butterflies are Lorelei Williams, Billie Jean Sinclaire, Lisa Monchalin, Tabatha Frank, Miranda Johnson, Jacqueline Hinews. Joining them today were artists Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Sii-am Hamilton, and JB the First Lady.

With a mission to raise awareness of violence against Indigenous women and girls, Butterflies in Spirit has performed at numerous gatherings and events throughout Canada, the US, and has traveled as far as Bogota, Colombia to perform at an International Women’s World Peace event. Members of the group wear shirts depicting images of their missing and murdered loved ones.

Formal opening

The formal opening brought matriarchs from all three nations together for the first time. Deborah Baker and Charmaine from Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Cecelia Point from xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Carleen from Səl̓ílwətaʔ /Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh).

Melina Laboucane Massimo

Keynote Speaker Melina Laboucane Massimo shared her personal and professional experience about being an Indigenous Cree woman from northern Alberta, treaty 10 territory. Melina drew strong parallels between environmental climate justice and gender justice and how these two movements intersect in her talk – “Violence against the Land Begets Violence against Women.”

Dr. Sharon McIvor

Keynote Speaker Dr Sharon McIvor in her talk “Indigenous Women Equality” challenges Canada to make her equal in the law to her Indigenous male counterparts by ending gender discrimination in the Indian Act. “Canada has been told over and over again that the Indian Act is the root cause of violence against Indigenous women. 140 years of sex discrimination is embedded solidly in the Indian Act. Canada cannot think of addressing the MMIWG report while it’s in violation… they can do it tomorrow.”

Anita Lucchesi

Keynote Speaker Anita Lucchesi spoke about her important work creating a database for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and what that means for data sovereignty. Data sovereignty means protecting sacred data and taking power back from colonial structures. It means building true data sets that reflect the truth respects Indigenous Women & their families.

Watch Day One

The conference was live streamed each day, you can watch the full day below. Each keynote and keynote panel will also be available to watch, subscribe to Feminists Deliver YouTube channel to be notified when the videos are live!