VANCOUVER – B.C. and Aboriginal leadership partners have agreed to jointly plan and host a family gathering to provide a safe and supportive place for families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women to heal together by sharing their stories and their strength, and identifying a path forward to end violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

B.C. family members of missing and murdered Aboriginal women have long emphasized the importance of bringing together as many family members as possible to share their experiences and stories. Recent reports by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women speak to the need for broad reconciliation policy in order to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

The gathering, proposed for this fall or spring 2016, follows up on the inaugural National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women held in Ottawa in February, 2015. John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation attended the Roundtable with a provincial delegation, which included Aboriginal family members.

On June 13, 2014, Aboriginal leadership and the Province of British Columbia signed the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Stopping Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls (MOU). The MOU signatories subsequently committed to developing the MOU Joint Partners’ Table (JPT). The overarching goal of the JPT is to facilitate collaboration between MOU signatories on shared priorities, core relationship and implementation principles, intended outcomes, and actions needed to stop violence against Aboriginal women and girls.