IN the 24 hours before the disappearance of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year old from Sagkeeng First Nation in Canada, she was seen by provincial child welfare workers, police officers and health care professionals.

Then she was found dead, dumped in Manitoba's Red River, and wrapped in a plastic bag and duvet  weighed down with 25 pounds of rocks.

''Canada and the system failed Tina at every step,'' Thelma Favel, the great-aunt who raised her, said from her small home in Powerview, a sleepy town on Lake Winnipeg near the  reserve of the  Sagkeeng First Nation.

''Why are so many of our girls dying?'' Many in Canada have been asking this question.

Tina's death in 2014 - and the acquittal of a white man in her killing - was one of an increasing number of deaths and disappearances of indigenous women and girls that has shocked Canadians in recent years.

The violence galvanized the government of prime Minster Justin Trudeau. to open a $54 million national inquiry three years ago that promised to get to the root causes of the violence.

Part of Mr. Trudeau's pledge to overcome decades of ''humiliation, neglect and abuse'' of indigenous populations, the inquiry heard the testimony from nearly 1,500 families of victims and survivors across the country.

Its chief commissioner Marrion Butler, a prominent indigenous judge, recently hinted that it could include, among other things, recommendations that homicides of indigenous women automatically be treated as first-degree murder. Law enforcement is also expected to be called to account.

But some indigenous advocates have said that however good its attentions, the inquiry has been marred by a lack of transparency and poor communication with families of victims.

''Justin Trudeau is trying to put rose-colored glasses on a very dark chapter of Canadian history,'' said  Kim O' Bomsawin, an indigenous filmmaker whose documentary ''Quiet Killing'' examines violence against indigenous women.

Yet even before its release, the inquiry has been forcing a national reckoning.

Among the cases attracting renewed scrutiny is that of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year old indigenous sex trade worker and mother of three who bled to death in a bathtub in an Edmonton motel room in June 2011; the man accused of her killing, Bradley Barton, an Ontario truck driver, was acquitted by an  all white jury.

The sad serving of this operational research on Justice, and publishing, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Dan Bilefsky.


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