Families and victims of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls now have a special liaison with the provincial government during a national inquiry.
Michelle MacIsaac serves as the northwest Alberta family information liaison for Indigenous programs victim services under the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General.
“We are committed to support the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to ensure they are treated with dignity, courtesy, compassion and respect,” says MacIsaac, who is based in offices in Grande Prairie and Edmonton.
“We are a single point of contact for families, and we give them information about the inquiry, gather case-specific information about police investigations and provide other support.”
Public hearings for the inquiry that evolved from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be coming to Alberta, with dates and places announced this fall, she says.
“The main thing is, if families, communities or organizations would like any support or presentations, to contact me,” says MacIsaac, one of four family information liaison workers in the province.
She will connect families with Elders, Indigenous knowledge keepers, healers and mainstream trauma counselling and supports.
People can also call on her to collaborate with similar liaison units in other provinces and territories where needed and to obtain information about a loved one who is missing or killed in another jurisdiction.
“I will travel to any part of northwest Alberta to provide education and create support groups,” says MacIsaac, a Metis woman who originates from the Slave Lake area and has worked with Indigenous children, youth and families throughout Alberta since 1995.
In cases where families want to lodge a formal complaint, report professional misconduct or seek some sort of legal remedy, they will be directed to the appropriate agency or organization in that jurisdiction.
In her role, MacIsaac is not available to undertake or participate in investigations, provide legal advice and assist in legal proceedings or in the inquiry.
She is also available to facilitate the Blanket Exercise, which provides a healing process.
The Kairos Blanket Exercise tells the history of the struggles of Indigenous rights and land loss by having participants stand on blankets that represent the lands inhabited by Indigenous people that eventually became Canada.
The three-hour interactive and experiential training teaches history through an Indigenous lens.
For more information, phone her cell number at (587) 984-7762, her office number at (780) 427-3460, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information is also available on the website at www.victims.alberta.ca.