The Invisible Women of Canada - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The Invisible Women of Canada - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

"Aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt says he believes an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women will do nothing to stop the violent epidemic.

Asked Thursday on Parliament Hill whether he understands why women’s and aboriginal groups continue to press for an inquiry, Valcourt replied: “Yeah, because, you know, they have this idea that by further study, we can solve the issues. And that will do nothing like that.” Link to story here.

Then he goes on to say this: “I mean, we all know what the problem is. The question is… now, what actions will you take to solve it?”

Valcourt was asked to clarify – what exactly, reporters asked, is the problem?

“What is the problem? Well, I mean, if you don’t know what the problem is, I mean, you know, you’re not Canadian,” he said.

The words I would use to describe this man are not fit for this page.

WHAAAT? I'm Canadian. I don't know what the problem is. And I especially don't know what the problem is with having an inquiry, with taking steps towards finding out what's happening when something is so horribly, horribly wrong.

"The report of the Special Committee on Violence against Indigenous Women released in Parliament today, acknowledges that First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls face much higher rates of violence than all other women in Canada.

However, the report, prepared by the majority Conservative members of the Committee, fails to call for the critical steps that must be taken to bring this crisis to an end.

Like the report released by the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women in December 2011, the report endorses existing government initiatives while vaguely calling for “further examination” of other issues. No indication was given about how or when the Committee members think such “examination” should take place. Concrete proposals for action presented by Indigenous women’s organizations and families of missing and murdered women are ignored.

“Indigenous women and girls – and indeed all Canadians – deserve better from our Parliament,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada (English Speaking). “Government ministers keep saying that they want action, not just talk, on violence against Indigenous women. But when given the opportunity to make a commitment to meaningful action, the government keeps endorsing the status quo.” Amnesty.CA

Conservatives Reject Inquiry - Toronto Star

No Call For National Inquiry - CBC

Image Credit: ibourgeault_tasse via Flickr

You may have heard about Loretta Saunders. Saunders was an Inuk student working on a thesis about missing and murdered Indigenous women when she disappeared. Her body was later found on the trans Canada highway in New Brunswick. She was 26 and pregnant. More information HERE.

Image Credit: izithombe, via Flickr

Or what about the Highway of Tears? In British Columbia, a series of murders along the stretch of highway between Prince Rupert and Prince George has given it that name. To be honest, I had never heard of it until doing research for this blog post. I'm learning as I write.

Most of the missing/murdered cases do not grab international headlines. They don't even grab national or local headlines.

How much do you know about human trafficking in Canada? Indigenous women and girls are especially vulnerable.

I am a white woman living in Canada, and with that comes a fair amount of privilege. I don't know what it is like to live as Indigenous people in this country, but I can listen and I can learn from their voices. I can read their stories and share the words with others. I can lend my voice to them when they ask of it, or be a silent ally when it is required. I am hoping that this blog entry will give some people pause and that they will follow the links and learn the stories of these women as well. I don't have the ability to support financially, or in other ways but this one. To use my small space on the internet to boost their signal -- and bring more allies to the cause.

Because this, this is a fucking travesty. We should all be angry and ashamed at our government's response to the crisis. We should take a good hard look at our privilege and move over to make room for the voices of Canada's Indigenous people to be heard.

So I urge you to read, to learn, and to support.

If you've read my post and want to get involved or learn more, here are some links to get you started.

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