The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Death of B.C. teen renews calls from First Nations over public inquiry

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VANCOUVER - The parents of an aboriginal girl found murdered last week in Kamloops, B.C., have joined the call for a national inquiry into murdered and missing First Nations women.

Matilda Fowler and Glen Wilson, the mother and father of 16-year-old CJ Fowler, joined Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and other aboriginal leaders in Vancouver on Wednesday to renew the demand for the government to look into such tragedies.

The girl's parents sobbed during a news conference as they spoke about losing their daughter.

"I'm going to find who did this. I want justice for my daughter and I don't want any more young girls going missing or murdered. Nobody deserves to lose a daughter," Matilda Fowler told the media.

Atleo said the girl's death has triggered an overwhelmingly painful reminder of similar tragedies in other First Nations communities across Canada, and they won't rest until their people have safety and security.

"First Nations have committed to ending violence against and among our peoples, we have called for a national public commission of inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and we will not rest until this is achieved," Atleo said in a news release.

Fowler told reporters the family is comforted by the support from their leaders "for continuing to take this message forward and to advocate on behalf of us and other families impacted by such tragedies."

First Nations Summit Chief Ed John said the death of CJ is a terrible tragedy and another horrific example of violence against aboriginal women.

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip also extended his condolences to the girl's family and her many friends.

"Another family, another community suffers an inconsolable loss," he said.

Phillip said the growing issue of murdered and missing First Nations women across Canada is nothing short of a national disgrace.

The call for an independent inquiry has been made over the last several years. First Nations leaders say they want the inquiry to include a review of police policies and procedures in regard to searches, investigations and communications between police, officials and families.

The renewed demand comes as RCMP in Kamloops reveal that CJ Fowler was last seen early in the morning on Dec. 5, walking down a main street to catch a bus to her Terrace home.

Her body was found by a man walking his dog in an undeveloped area slated for residential use.

In November, provincial and territorial justice and aboriginal affairs ministers gathered in Winnipeg and concluded they were prepared to take action to reduce the number of First Nations women who are victims of violence every year.

However, the ministers didn't commit to lobbying the federal government for an inquiry.

Aboriginal groups estimate as many as 600 aboriginal women have disappeared or been killed over the last two decades.

(The Canadian Press, CKNW, CHNL)

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