The Canadian government is going to provide more than $13 million as funding for more than 100 projects to honour the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Women and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef announced Monday in Winnipeg.
This announcement comes weeks after the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls unveiled its final report, in which it referred to the violence against Indigenous women and girls as a “Canadian genocide.”
The funding will be provided for projects like events, art installations, monuments, and productions created by women's and Indigenous groups in Canada.
"Our government is listening to survivors and families who have told us that in order to move forward meaningfully, we must also pause to remember and honour those who are missing and whose lives have been lost," Monsef said in a statement. "That is what we are doing by supporting these commemorative projects across Canada — ensuring that we will never forget our sisters in spirit and that we can prevent such tragedies in the future."
Community organizations such as friendship centres and social-service agencies that help Indigenous people will receive funding for the commemorative works to honour Indigenous women and girls, as well as LGBTQ and two-spirit people, according to the Canadian Press.
By supporting projects designed by Indigenous organizations, families and survivors across Canada, we are ensuring that those who were missing or murdered are never forgotten, and working to prevent this violence from happening again. pic.twitter.com/SaaBTzBvqt— Maryam Monsef (@MaryamMonsef) June 24, 2019
This is the first action from the government since the inquiry, Monsef noted. But officials say there are more announcements to come and that the funds will be allotted in coming weeks.
The government called for proposals for commemorations last February.
The National Inquiry’s interim report included 10 calls for immediate action. Among them was the need for the federal government to establish a commemoration fund.
In the final report issued earlier this month, the commissioners stated that they were glad that the federal government recognized the importance of public commemoration, but they pointed out concerns.
"Our recommendation specifically noted the importance of involving Indigenous women’s organizations, family coalitions, Indigenous artists, and grassroots advocates. However, the call for proposals for this commemoration fund applies only to legally constituted organizations, and it is not clear to what extent others will be able to access it," the final report reads. "This excludes these very same family coalitions and grassroots organizations we wanted to include, who have been organizing around missing and murdered women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people for decades with very little support."