Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: “pervasive, immediate and urgent”

As women’s advocates, we know that the threat of violence continues to loom too large as a reality in the lives of Indigenous girls and women in Canada. On average, Indigenous women aged 25 to 44 are five times more likely than other Canadian women of the same age to die as a result of violence[1]

According to Amnesty International, hundreds of Indigenous women have been reported missing or murdered in Canada; most of these cases remain unsolved.The Inquiry in to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous women of Canada – and a lack of justice associated with this issue to date – also reflects this reality.

This week, 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 2SLGBTQQIA people”[2]. The report is comprised of the “truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers shared over two years of cross-country public hearings and evidence gathering”; in it, many spoke to colonial and patriarchal policies in Canada that “displaced women from their traditional roles in communities and governance and diminished their status in society, leaving them vulnerable to violence” [3].

“…We are not investigating a past wrong, but one that is still ongoing and that is getting worse. Acts of violence stemming from the structures of colonialism, and coupled with racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are not few and far between, but pervasive, immediate and urgent.”

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report, 85.

The report delivers over 200 Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians.

Read the full National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report here.

[1] 2004 Amnesty International report: Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada.

[2] National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Online: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

[3] Ibid

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