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Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

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Naomi De Guzman

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Violence against native women is at epidemic levels.

Social Campaigns
there are 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal females: 105 missing for more than 30 days as of November 4, 2013 (RCMP)
police recorded up to 1181 unresolved and missing Aboriginal females and 1017 homicide victims (RCMP)
in 2011, 718, 500 women identified as Indigenous, representing 4.3% of Canada’s overall female population for that year (RCMP)
Indigenous women are 3 times more likely to experience and report being a victim of violence than non-indigenous women (2009 gov’t survey. No More Stolen Sisters)
Indigenous women are more likely than non-indigenous women to be murdered/assaulted by what police call acquaintances- friends, colleagues, neighbors etc (RCMP Report releases May, 2014. No More Stolen Sisters)

developed from Jaime Black who is a metis artist from Winnipeg who created an aesthetic art project in response to the missing and indigenous women in Canada
numerous community donated red dresses are publicly displayed across Canada
visual reminder and artwork of the number of absent missing and murdered women
making publicly aware, drawing attention to the invisible Indigenous women of society
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
What is the Issue?!
Indigenous Women in Canada
By: Mary Eberts

Within the article, “Knowing and Unknowing: Settler Reflection on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,” written by Mary Eberts shares information that had been collected about missing and murdered Indigenous women. (Eberts, pg.69)
Canada had a time when it was coming of age in the first century, and this led to the truth of violence and discrimination of Indigenous women unacknowledged, and many people did not do anything to end such horrific tragedies. Ebert says, “Settlers knew, and then we unknew, about that violence. Unknowing what we once knew not only shield us from the unhappy reality of Indigenous women, it allows us to avoid confronting our own role in what has been happening to them and to continue to think well of ourselves.” (Eberts, pg. 72)
Eberts shares these stories in hope that Canada does not enter a phase of unknowing again. Instead, by addressing the issues and seeking for change against the violence of Indigenous women.


RCMP Report on Canada's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Mary Eberts worked with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). During this time they were developing Sisters in Spirit. (Eberts, pg. 69)

One of the many factors which contribute to the violence of Indigenous women is the 1967 campaign for the revoke of the Indian Act, was taking away their Indian status if they were to marry a non-Indian.
“When I think back to that time and those people, I realize now that poor people, both white and Native, who are trapped within a certain kind of life, can never look to the business and political leaders of this country for help. Regardless of what they promise, they’ll never change things, because they are involved in and perpetuate in private the very things that they condemn in public.” - Maria Campbell (Eberts, pg. 81)
In another case, Jack Ramsay who was the corporal in charge of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was accused of rape on two accounts of Indigenous women. One of the victims was fourteen years old when the offense happened. Ramsay was initially charged for attempted rape, however he had a successful appeal and was given a new trial in which he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense. (Eberts, pg.82)

I am sorry we have not fought harder for you
The Action of the Federal, Provincial, Territorial, and Municipal Governments
within Indigenous reserves, there will be support for shelters and education (K-12) which will address the root cause of violence against Indigenous women and girls
empowerment via economic development opportunities and jobs and skills

public awareness and prevention campaigns shed light on the mistreatment that Indigenous women and girls experience
strengthening the criminal justice system and making them more responsible to the needs of victims
a national DNA-based missing index is put into effect
using ethnicity as a variable in epidemiological research
collecting police data and information on violence and crime against Indigenous women and girls
Public Awareness
Support for Family of Victims
Police Services
Support for Community
Intersectional Approach
When exploring the violence against Indigenous women, it is also important to explore the issue with an intersectional approach. The intersectional theory is about the intersection between class, gender and race and how each one intersect one another to develop a better understanding of issues.
With the intersectional approach, it can be used to recognize the many different experiences of Indigenous women. Using such an approach will allow for an understanding of the wide differences amongst a variety of women. It is extremely important to acknowledge that each individual will experience different encounters in their lives.
The exploration of violence against Indigenous women emphasize the inequalities that exist amongst society which has furthered the violence against Indigenous Women. (Cooper, Tanisha., pg.16)

within Canada, occurring frequently in western provinces, Indigenous women are at higher risk for violence than females of other ethnic descent
the government of Canada is not doing enough to take control of this issue
indigenous women and girls are not ensured safety and protection within its nation

In a more famous case, a murder that occurred in The Pas, Manitoba in the year of 1971. The victim, Helen Betty Osbourne who was nineteen-years old at the time originated from Norway House Indian Reserve. The investigation began with The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry and the RCMP investigating all of Osbourne’s friends. However, in May 1972 RCMP received notice about four white men. In December of 1972, these four young white men were investigated to have had committed the murder of Osbourne. It was not until the 1986 of October when these four young men were officially charged with Helen Betty Osbourne’s murder. (Eberts,pg.83)

developed from Holly Jarrett, whose cousin, Loretta Saunders was killed while she was a student at St. Mary’s University in Halifax.
her goal: A public inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women & awareness
some photos simply ask “Am I Next?” while others personally direct the question to PM Stephen Harper (Globe & Mail)
a message to Stephen Harper, advocating for a national inquiry
The REDress Project
that aboriginal women account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women in Canada when they make up only 2.1 per cent of the population
that household crowding, which is linked to increased family violence, is experienced by 31 per cent of Inuit women and only 3 per cent of non-aboriginal females
of the 33 women whose DNA was found on serial killer Robert Picton’s farm, 12 were aboriginal
There has been 1181 cases of murdered or missing Aboriginal women since 1980. (RCMP)
(The Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
(YouTube: ShoshoneBannockTribe)
(Parliament of Canada)
discuss action to investigate the crimes or state that there is new action/new funding when there is not
does not show any initiative to develop ways to STOP or PREVENT these patterns of missing or murdered women in these communities
ultimately does not give any of the families of the victims any sense of justice or any sense of protection & safety to Indigenous women
it is important to understand that a national public inquiry is not only a matter of seeking justice and reconciliation for past injustices, but critical if we are to ever address the systemic problems underlying this ongoing crisis
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