FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – When anyone faces a tragedy or death of a loved one, they are understandably trying to come to terms with what has happened and naturally, they will be seeking answers as to what happened to lead to a tragedy or death.
The B.C. government is now creating a unit that will assist families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The Department of Justice made funding available to create ‘Family Information Liaison Units’ during 2016.
Connie Greyeyes has been involved in the process here in Fort St. John and attended meetings that were held last Wednesday.
“What they are wanting is, they want to talk to families about anything that the Family Information Liaison Unit would be supporting families in.”
Greyeyes says that families came and spoke about the experiences that they had with police as well as other organizations such as the coroners office.
“When we had families come and speak, they talked about how the police were with them, whether they felt that they were given information, how readily they were able to find out about things about the case.”
She says with the tragic events that occurred in Moberly Lake last month and personal instances, information wasn’t given because of a BC Coroners Office ‘policy review’. This was one of the situations that was brought up to officials that visited Fort St. John last week.
The FILU won’t necessarily help get the major, specific details about a case but there are resources that families can access including funding for grief counselling, trauma treatment and other resources.
Greyeyes says that she had been working with the representatives from the Department of Justice to hold a meeting before the tragic incident in Moberly Lake.
“We had actually planned on having them, I had been speaking with them regarding it, and basically it just kind of happened. We had thought about changing them coming because of what had occurred (in Moberly Lake) and the family said that they would like to speak with them so please don’t cancel.”
She says the group will also help communicate between families in a time of tragedy.
“In cases where the family of a loved one is estranged or they’re not on speaking terms or they aren’t close, that way both sides of the family are respected and get the right information out there. The FILU doesn’t intend on just ‘barging in’ and saying ‘well, we are going to help you’ but they have made themselves available.”
Tragedy does strike and Greyeyes says that the families just want to have answers and a better understanding of situations involving loved ones.
“You can understand how frustrating it is for the families to know that incidentshappen but not know or why or the circumstances that they happened under and all you have is your thoughts of what could have possibly happened.”
The FILU is something Greyeyes hopes can bring answers to those who are desperatly searching for them when it comes to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.