Ernie Crey of Chilliwack definitely plans to show up for long-awaited National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Terms of reference for the MMIW inquiry were just released, along with naming the five commissioners who will conduct the inquiry into the high number of deaths and disappearances of indigenous women and girls in Canada.
"I'm really glad that we're finally there, ready for the inquiry," said Crey, who is also chief of Cheam First Nation.
Crey's sister, Dawn Crey was listed among the thousands of missing women. Although Dawn's DNA was found at the Pickton farm, the convicted killer was never charged with her murder.
"I don't plan on sitting on the sidelines of the inquiry pounding on a drum and complaining about the terms of reference. I plan to be there to offer up what I can to help," he said.
The inquiry, which acknowledges MMIW as a "national tragedy that must be brought to an end" aims to get to the roots of systemic violence against First Nations women and girls, looking at elements like the impact of Indian Act, and the history of colonialism.
Crey hopes everyone will support it, including aboriginal leaders, and help rally the families of the missing with supporters, and get behind this inquiry.
"The idea is to work with it as it is and make it a success," he said.
The MMIW inquiry is scheduled to begin on Sept. 1, is expected to last at least two years and cost at least $53.8 million.
"What do I want from the inquiry? It's pretty simple. I want the inquiry to canvass all the issues they've listed in the terms of reference, and do a thorough job of them."
Ideally it would be held in a variety of locations, including big cities and small communities.
But the real work will happen at the end of it.
"As difficult and challenging as the inquiry will be, the real work will start with the recommendations, and they will be be compelling the provinces, territories and Ottawa, to take the recommendations, and use them to inform their policies around First Nations, women, children and families."
The commissioners include: the Honourable Marion R. Buller as Chief Commissioner, Michèle Taïna Audette, E. Qajaq Robinson, Marilyn Poitras and Brian Eyolfson.
Crey said he personally knows two of the commissioners, Buller and Audette, which gives him comfort due to their high levels of intelligence, integrity and compassion.