This roundtable organized by the Tkaronto/Toronto-based network No More Silence (NMS) brings together scholars, activists, and legal professionals from what is now called Canada to discuss the challenge of decolonizing justice around the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans and two spirit people (MMIWGT2S). In fact, the MMIWGT2S movement has grown in numbers and influence over the past 30 years. Initially centered on educating the public on a phenomenon that went underreported in mainstream media, the movement has also been busy supporting the surviving family and community members. A conundrum faced by those who envision a society without prisons, police or retributive justice has been how to engage with the equation of justice by some family members with harsh prison sentences. This is the topic of a forthcoming book chapter by NMS co-founder Audrey Huntley and NMS settler ally member Carol Lynne D’Arcangelis in Social Work Abolition // Abolition Social Work. Based on interviews with Indigenous women leaders of the MMIWGT2S movement, the chapter problematizes this reaction and discusses traditional responses to violence based on restoring balance and repairing harm. This roundtable will provide an opportunity to deepen and extend the dialogue in a forum with scholars and activists from throughout Abya Yala/the Americas. It will also build on the work of Tkaronto/Toronto-based grassroots community groups who have protested anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and supported the defunding and abolition of police and prisons.
The five roundtable participants comprise a diverse group of people with a range of affiliations: Wanda Whitebird (Mi’kmaq), Elder, Traditional Knowledge Holder, No More Silence; Audrey Huntley, No More Silence; Terri Monture (Haudenosaunee), No More Silence, Canadian Media Guild; Dr. Beverley Jacobs (Haudenosaunee), University of Windsor; and Christa Big Canoe (Anishnaabe), Aboriginal Legal Services.