Cowichan Tribes Chief Chip Seymour isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.
The leader of one of Vancouver Island’s largest First Nations agrees with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry chair Marion Buller when she alleges Canada is guilty of genocide in its dealing with Aboriginal people.
Buller used the term genocide in the final report from the inquiry that interviewed more than 2,000 people and earlier this month presented 231 recommendations aimed at ending the violence endured by Indigenous women.
Seymour says Canadian history is awash with the blood of First Nations people as the government engaged in a campaign to rid the new country of “the Indian problem.”
The chief says not much has changed and the process is ongoing in 2019.
And while, to some, genocide may be an unfair and incendiary word, Seymour’s position is understandable.
The Cowichan Valley has had more than its share of tragedy, in recent years and historically, Seymour points out.
He laments the fact that a number of members of Cowichan Tribes have been murdered and remaining missing with ineffective investigations failing to get to the bottom of these cases.
He’s angry that searches and publicity aimed at finding answers is left up to the grieving families. There is no funding in place to help them tackle the job when law enforcement and other agencies fail to do their job.
No comprehensive or accurate database exists so the full magnitude of the problem remains unclear.
Seymour points out that it’s not only women and young girls who have been targeted, but Cowichan Tribes men are also missing with no clues as to where they are years after they vanished from their families’ lives.
Today, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Let’s make it a day to give some thought to the violence and injustice that exists all around us and make a pledge to do something about it.