Fam­ily mem­bers re­ceiv­ing sup­port

An­nounce­ment of spe­cial­ists to serve as li­aisons

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRAM DINSHAW

It’s been eight years, but Vanessa Brooks still has no idea who mur­dered her sis­ter Tanya.

The Mill­brook First Na­tion mem­ber is re­mem­ber­ing her older sis­ter, who left be­hind five chil­dren, just be­fore the Na­tional In­quiry into Miss­ing and Mur­dered In­dige­nous Women comes to Nova Sco­tia, on Oct. 30.

“She was a very tal­ented artist. She had a kind heart. She was smart,” re­called Brooks, fight­ing back tears. “What hap­pened to her ... she was found in a win­ter well in Hal­i­fax.”

Brooks talked about her sis­ter as the prov­ince an­nounced the hir­ing Thurs­day in Indian

Brook of three com­mu­nity out­reach spe­cial­ists to pro­vide cul­tural sup­port to fam­ily mem­bers be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the in­quiry’s time in Nova Sco­tia.

The spe­cial­ists are ex­pe­ri­enced in deal­ing with the type of trauma ex­pe­ri­enced by fam­ily mem­bers who have lost loved ones and in many cases have no idea what hap­pened to them.

“This is a tragedy that also touches Nova Sco­tia. Some of those mur­dered and miss­ing are from our very own prov­ince,” said Jus­tice Min­is­ter Mark Furey.

Co-or­di­nated through the prov­ince’s Fam­ily In­for­ma­tion Li­ai­son Unit, the three spe­cial­ist out­reach po­si­tions are funded by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and are be­ing rolled out in part­ner­ship with the Nova Sco­tia Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

The FILU is a place for fam­i­lies of mur­dered and miss­ing loved ones to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion on in­di­vid­ual cases from po­lice and other agen­cies, ser­vices and re­sources to deal with trauma, in­for­ma­tion on how to file a com­plaint or re­port mis­con­duct and learn of over­all in­quiry progress.

The team can also con­nect rel­a­tives of mur­dered and miss­ing loved ones to com­mu­nity elders, as well as ar­range meet­ings with the Na­tional In­quiry’s com­mu­nity li­ai­son worker for Nova Sco­tia, should they wish to par­take.

The three-year fed­eral fund­ing agree­ment, an­nounced by Ottawa last year, will pro­vide the prov­ince with $790,000 un­til March 31, 2019. It cov­ers FILU costs in­clud­ing co-or­di­na­tion of in­for­ma­tion gath­er­ing for fam­i­lies, the newly-an­nounced out­reach spe­cial­ists, as­sis­tance for ther­a­peu­tic sup­ports for fam­ily mem­bers of vic­tims and ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­penses.

The fed­eral sup­port will also help pro­vide cul­tural sup­ports in­clud­ing smudg­ing cer­e­monies, prayers and sweat lodges.

“They’re ex­po­nen­tially im­por­tant,” said Brooks.

Brooks said the FILU team helped her fam­ily bring Tanya’s re­mains home and lay her to rest af­ter years of un­cer­tainty.

She told SaltWire Network that mur­ders di­vide fam­i­lies and be­ing un­able, for a long time, to bring Tanya home “was a huge part of the weight that was in our fam­ily.”

Ch­eryl Maloney, pres­i­dent of the Nova Sco­tia Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion, said the FILU was a wel­come ad­di­tion to al­ready-es­tab­lished re­la­tion­ships with com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies im­pacted by the loss of loved ones.

“I am very pleased that the Prov­ince of Nova Sco­tia has lis­tened and worked with us to pro­vide cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate and cul­tur­ally de­liv­ered ser­vices for fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties of miss­ing and mur­dered in­dige­nous women and girls,” said Maloney in a me­dia re­lease Thurs­day.

The to­tal num­ber of mur­dered and miss­ing In­dige­nous women and girls across Canada is un­known, with es­ti­mates rang­ing from about 1,200 to more than 4,000.

A 2014 RCMP re­port recorded 1,017 deaths be­tween 1980 and 2012 and another 164 miss­ing.

Tanya Brooks

MARK GOUDGE/SALTWIRE NETWORK

Vanessa Brooks, who lost her sis­ter Tanya Brooks in 2009, speaks dur­ing pro­ceed­ings at the Nova Sco­tia Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion of­fice in Sipekene’katik First Na­tion. Jus­tice Min­is­ter Mark Fury an­nounced the prov­ince will sup­port fam­i­lies and...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.