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‘This is ground zero’: Saskatchewan father speaks to students about MMIWG

One Saskatchewan father shared his journey for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and missing Indigenous people at a student lecture on Thursday.

Brian Gallagher’s daughter Megan went missing in Sept. 2020. Her body was found two years later.

The Gallagher family has already attended almost 200 court appearances regarding the nine people involved in her murder, expecting the full judicial process to take up to five years.

Click to play video: 'Focus Saskatchewan: Megan Gallagher'

Focus Saskatchewan: Megan Gallagher

“You’re having to revisit those things,” Gallagher said. “You are retraumatized about the realities of what happened.”

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He and his family advertised around Saskatoon and the province about Megan’s disappearance for year, in hope of finding their daughter.

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“My wife and I would sometimes drive around the city and look at the billboards just to get a look at our daughter,” Gallagher said.

At Saskatoon’s Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Thursday, Gallagher opened up to students regarding challenges surrounding MMIWG and missing Indigenous people in Canada.

“If you are an Indigenous woman, you are 12 times more likely to go missing or be murdered than a non-Indigenous person,” Gallagher said, according to national statistics.

He said in Saskatchewan, the number jumps to 19 times more likely with Alberta and Manitoba close behind.

“This is ground zero where we live here, right on these territories. People need to be aware of it. We need awareness, we need solutions.”

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon residents walk to remember Megan Gallagher'

Saskatoon residents walk to remember Megan Gallagher

The Calls for Justice were released in 2019 in conjunction with the conclusion of the National Inquiry into MMIWG. They “are aimed at ending genocide, tackling root causes of violence, and improving the quality of life of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

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Federal funding was recently provided for all Saskatchewan Polytechnic campuses in the province to raise awareness of important issues including Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“It’s an opportunity for us to see how close it hits to home,” said Derek Yee, Indigenous Student Centre coordinator on campus. “I’m interested in learning about the ins and outs of the court system and how our court systems are working to attend to these issues.”

Yee said the lecture is just one of a series of events taking place, inviting students taking justice studies, youth care work and educational programs.

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