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Why Isn’t Canada Taking Action to Find More Than 1,000 Missing Aboriginal Women?

Why Isn’t Canada Taking Action to Find More Than 1,000 Missing Aboriginal Women?

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard an international amber alert to bring back the nearly 300 Nigerian girls who were recently abducted by a notoriously violent Islamic militant group from their school dormitories.

To imagine little girls being brutally kidnapped simply for their desire to get an education is a horror to imagine, yet here we are. As the world holds out hope that these young women will be brought home safely, I ask that you add another group of women to your thoughts and prayers: Canada’s aboriginal women.

A recent report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has found reports of more than 1,000 missing or murdered aboriginal women in the country. Eighty-seven percent of these women are mothers. “If you put it into context, it means that over the last 30 years, 40 aboriginal women and girls didn’t — every year — did not come home to see their families,” said New Democratic Party status of women critic Niki Ashton.

Despite cries for a national government inquiry, the government has been uncooperative and instead offered to conduct another study regarding the missing women. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, “Our government from the very outset has said, as one of its priorities — one of its most important priorities — tackling crime including violence against women and girls.”

If that were true in practice, the government would be taking real action to find justice for these women, not conducting another study that will inevitably show how many aboriginal women have been endangered.

In Nigeria the government has also been slow to provide any support to finding the missing girls. There are even reports linking the First Lady of Nigeria to the arrest of Naomi Mutah Nyadar, the leader of the #BringBackOurGirls protests.

Despite government inaction, the global call to bring these girls safely home has been tremendous, especially on social media platforms like Twitter where the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has been trending for the last two weeks.

But where is the international outcry for Canada’s aboriginal women? Where’s the clever hashtag spotlighting the issue online for all to see?

It might pull at your heart strings more to imagine young girls being kidnapped from school, but imagine all the young girls in Canada who are now motherless due to this horrific injustice. Canada’s missing and murdered women and mothers will not be dismissed or forgotten here.

Whether it be school girls in Nigeria or aboriginal women in Canada the message for both is the same: girls and women aren’t valued.

In order for there to be any real protections for women and girls in Canada, Nigeria, or anywhere in the world for that matter, we need to first understand why women are so vulnerable to violence and then break down the societal beliefs that make it impossible for women to be seen as equals. Until then women and girls will continue to be the targets of violence, and governments won’t feel the urgency to find justice for its victims.

You can help the aboriginal women of Canada by signing our petition demanding that the government conduct a national inquiry on the matter.

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Photo Credit: BiblioArchives via Flickr

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296 comments

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3:14PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

Can anyone come up with a plan to help these girls/mothers...

10:07AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

@ pat w; on May 11, 2014
why doesnt canada care,you just answered your question they dont care!i hate canada they dont care they kill infant seals for the hell of it

pat w. Why do you think most of these native peoples are left without a livelihood? Could it have anything to do with the Anti-Fur Campaigns started in Europe? Our fore fathers herded them up into Reserves, took their children away from them, put them into Residential Schools. Creating family dysfunction.

We the colonizers started trading furs with them to bring back to Europe, trading sheep wool blankets, guns, pots, fabrics, beads, sugar, flour etc. Then we have the arrogant AR's who don't know whether they are punched or bored destroying their main livelihood, creating extreme poverty.

The point I want to make is that they are marginalized by genocidal policies by ruling class governments, and those of you being anti-fur add to their demise. On Fly-in only communities, if you don't have a job for the Band Council, Airport or School you are unemployed. Keep signing your anti-fur petitions!

9:20AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

@ Tara W; on May 14, 2014
Shameful! What do we even have RCMP for if not to protect vulnerable citizens?

Tara there is sexism and abuse within their ranks.

Rcmp Sexual Harassment - Huffington Post
www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/rcmp-sexual-harassment/
VANCOUVER - An RCMP officer who is suing the force for harassment and abuse has now filed a ..... Female RCMP Officers File Sexual Harassment Lawsuit.

Class-action harassment lawsuit against RCMP expected to ...
www.vancouversun.com/news/...harassment...RCMP.../story.html
Jun 4, 2013 - The RCMP has also issued denials in several sexual abuse and ... gender-based harassment was common among the female officers who ...

Next step in RCMP harassment lawsuit begins today ... - CBC
www.cbc.ca/.../next-step-in-rcmp-harassment-lawsuit-begins-today-1.13...
Jun 4, 2013 - The RCMP has issued sweeping denials in several sexual abuse and ... gender- based harassment was common among the female officers ...

3:30AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Once again, you almost got it: "It might pull at your heart strings more to imagine young girls being kidnapped from school, but imagine all the young girls in Canada who are now motherless due to this horrific injustice."

8:42AM PDT on May 31, 2014

A question deserving of better answers

9:10PM PDT on May 27, 2014

What a sad story. Just shocking that more is not done - in any country to find the missing.

4:01PM PDT on May 25, 2014

Any woman no matter their race should not go unheard. How many times do we hear of women and children gone missing for years and no one does anything? Yes, Canada does need to step up to the plate and give the Native Peoples more respect. They have been ignored for far too long. Shame on Canada for feeding the rich and forgetting about all others.

6:43PM PDT on May 19, 2014

I'm not impressed with this article,but i guess its a way to bring awareness to others about missing females.I dont think it should of been compared to Nigerian girls taken by gun point.

I think the mind set is all wrong here,and i think the apple usually falls fairly close to the tree it fell from.I'm not going to debate the number of missing aboriginal women,as even one is too many,and i tryed to google how many missing PEOPLE are in Canada but couldn't find a number,but got 800,000 for America,of which only 87000 are actully missing,which is still a high number,but its quite possible many of those are missing cause they want to be.

Are these 1000 plus woman actually missing or was the paperwork never fully completeted or rechecked into to fully see if they were really missing.I mean do we really believe a 1000 plus women were sent overseas as slaves or forced to work as sex slaves in Canada?Another thing to look at is the high level of violence in a native home.I dont think Harper should open up a special investigation for aboriginal woman,i think he should open up the case files for all missing PEOPLE in Canada.

7:48AM PDT on May 17, 2014

In typical Canadian fashion.... Canadians never complain about the injustice to the First Nations and the poor of this country. In fact, most of them hide thier heads in the sand or point their fingers at how other countires treat their people. But when it comes to issues about hockey... look out!! If just half the money spent on hockey players, hockey areanas, hockey equipment and the media covering hockey.... we'd have more than enough to support and feed our poor and search out the perpetrators of injustices done to these Canadians.

2:38AM PDT on May 17, 2014

Jean D has a valid point in that there is no money ti be made in finding these (or any other) missing women. I have aboriginal friends and know the strong emotions of being treated as undervalued and second class which is almost a daily part of their lives. When it comes to crime, it is even worse. If you are a perpetrator or suspect, you are more likely to be convicted, more likely to get jail time and it will usually be longer. Due to a variety of issues, aboriginals are over represented in Canada;s penal system. Yet for all of the attention paid by law enforcement agencies to virtually every move made by much of the native population, when they need help from those same authorities is slow and terribly hard to come by. If a cute blonde girl goes missing, people in the media and law enforcement fall all over themselves, yet if you are aboriginal, you almost have to do all the investigation yourself and beg the authorities for help. It is sick and sad and I know similar biases happen in many places, but we should know better here after the serial case in Vancouver, wherein the police were repeatedly warned, questioned and even pestered AND knew the suspect, who was pointed to by many. But to them, 'these people; were obviously not worth looking for. We simply cannot allow this kind of vile biased policing to go on. Everyone deserves the same care, the same dedication from those whose job it is to find the lost, regardless of of ethnicity, class, or background. The disappoint

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