June 4 (UPI) -- The deaths and disappearances of more than a thousand indigenous women and girls in Canada over the past few decades is part of a "genocide" against the country's native peoples, according to the findings of a national inquiry.
The two-volume report, released Monday, and its findings detailed during a ceremony in Quebec, complete a three-year investigation into the root cause of Canada's high rates of violence against native women, girls and minorities.
The report by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, titled "Reclaiming Power and Place," states that Canada, from before its pre-colonial past to today, enacted policies to "destroy indigenous peoples physically, biologically and as social units," a supplement to the report said.
The national inquiry was launched in 2016 as a response to the growing anger over the roughly 1,200 dead or missing indigenous women in the past few decades that were detailed in the Royal Canadian Mountain Police 2014 report.
The national inquiry argues that genocide was committed against Canadians from its pre-colonial past, not only through premeditated killings but also through "egregious colonial policies that caused serious bodily and mental harm" and deliberately inflicted conditions "calculated to bring about their physical destruction."
The genocide was made possible due to colonial structures and policies that were allowed to persist until today, it said.
"The national inquiry's final report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada's staggering rates of violence against indigenous women, girls and" LGBT people, the inquiry said.
The report details 231 calls for justice and suggests large changes to be put in place to heal the multigenerational and intergenerational trauma and marginalization in the form of poverty, insecure housing or homelessness and barriers to education, employment, government services and support.
"To put an end to this tragedy, the rightful power and place of women, girls and [LGBT] people must be reinstated, which requires dismantling the structures of colonialism within Canadian society," Commissioner Michele Audette said in a statement. "This is not just a job for governments and politicians. It is incumbent on all Canadians to hold our leaders to account."
The national inquiry said to help rectify the situation, Canada must establish a national indigenous and human rights ombudsperson and a national indigenous and human rights tribunal; develop and implement a national action plan to ensure equitable access to employment, education and other services; provide funding for violence-prevention campaigns and education; and prohibit the apprehension of children due to poverty or culture.
"Ending this genocide and rebuilding Canada into a decolonized nation requires a new relationship and an equal partnership between all Canadians and indigenous peoples," Commissioner Qajaq Robinson said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the ceremony in Quebec he was "humbled and grateful" to receive the report.
"This is an important day, and one that is long, long overdue," he said.
He thanked those who spoke out over the years about the violence they had experienced for their bravery and hoped that the report would offer them some healing. The situation native women and girls have faced over the decades is "shameful," he said.
Trudeau said Canada would implement a national action plan, as the inquiry urged, while working with indigenous communities to determine future actions.
"Facing the hardest of truths is a necessary step to addressing them -- and moving forward together," he said.