‘This is a bigger problem’: Families share as MMIWG inquiry starts in Saskatoon

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WATCH ABOVE: Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls share their stories as the National Inquiry makes a stop in Saskatoon. – Nov 21, 2017

The family of Nadine Machiskinic was one of the first to testify at the Saskatoon stop of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

“This is a bigger problem, that these issues are bigger, that this is not just another Indigenous woman,” said Delores Stevenson, Machiskinic’s aunt.

READ MORE: More than 900 people registered to speak to MMIWG inquiry

The 29-year-old mother of four was found at the bottom of a Regina hotel laundry chute nearly three years ago.

The coroner found Machiskinic’s death accidental; however earlier this year an inquest deemed it undetermined. In her testimony, Stevenson expressed frustration with the aftermath as the family still searches for answers.

“This is just not right. This is not right that my niece fell from a laundry chute and nobody’s taken it seriously. The fact that I’ve had to uncover everything that I’ve uncovered,” Stevenson said.

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READ MORE: Families voice concern about Saskatchewan’s coroner’s office

During the hearing, Stevenson said she’s had to go to the media in order to be heard. She shared recommendations such as more accountability into investigations and a need for resources for family advocacy.

“I don’t know if I’m ever really going to get any closure, but at this point I’m simply addressing the justice system,” Stevenson told reporters after her testimony.

“This is not just an Indigenous issue, it is a Canadian problem,” Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the inquiry, stated.

Three MMIWG commissioners will listen to 32 sessions throughout the week, where 80 family members will share their stories of loss.

“While we see pain, and grief and suffering, we see healing and we see hope,” said Buller.

There will also be six statement gatherers on site that will take statements of people not registered to go public with their story.

READ MORE: MMIWG inquiry hears calls for increased punitive damages in deaths of Indigenous women

“I’m glad that I made it to this part of the process because I was having doubts and unsure feelings about the whole process, but I’m glad I carried it through and I’m glad I shared her story,” Stevenson said.

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The Saskatoon inquiry concludes Thursday evening. The next stop will be in Maliotenam, Que., next week.