TENDINAGA – Tyendinaga Mohawk activist Shawn Brant has given Prime Minister Steven Harper until the end of February to call a national inquiry into missing Indigenous women.
If not, he promises direct action on a large scale, claiming to have garnered support from a wide number of organizations and individuals.
It has been a [tweetable alt=””]growing problem that first made mainstream news 20 years ago[/tweetable] with a Globe and Mail report, but rather than decreasing, the numbers of murdered and missing Native women have been increasing at alarming rates to what is now believed to be between 600 and 800 cases, the vast majority, not solved or even properly investigated.
According to Brant, to put these numbers in context, in the non-Native population it would be equivalent to somewhere 50,000 murdered and missing women. If that were the case, Brant wonders how Harper’s government and Canada’s police agencies would react if 50,000 non-Native women were missing.
“Police Chiefs and their associations, the Premiers of all the Provinces, the Assembly of First Nations and the families of 3,000 murdered and missing aboriginal women have made one united call – A National Inquiry Now,” Brant wrote on his website.
The OPP wasn’t happy with the support Brant garnered when he ran for Chief in November, and neither was the government.[tweetable alt=””]“They can’t say ‘it’s Shawn and a handful of supporters’ anymore,” said Brant [/tweetable]in an interview with APTN National News after his failed attempt become Chief.
Brant garnered more than 350 votes in the Tyendinaga Territory on his platform promising serious direct action if Harper’s government continues to ignore the issue.
Brant’s letter to Harper includes the following: “In a report, published in September 2013 by MaryAnne Pearce and recently obtained by the RCMP, some [tweetable alt=”824 First Nations women been identified as murdered or missing”]824 First Nations women have now been identified as having been murdered or gone missing[/tweetable], with a majority of those cases documented as having occurred in the past 15 years.
“Your unwillingness to consider this first step at reconciliation is well documented and understood.
“It is our opinion that all diplomatic means to convince you of the need for an inquiry have failed. Further, the tears and sadness of the families left behind have not moved you to any position of compassion.
“We have therefore resolved that we will take whatever and further actions that are deemed necessary, to compel you to call a National Inquiry into the crisis of Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women and Girls.”
In an APTN interview, Brant warned of widespread and serious direct action in the form of transportation blockades between Toronto and Montreal should Harper continue to ignore the situation.
And that is only the start. According to Brant, demonstrations will then spread across Canada.
In the past Brant has been marginalized by the media and some of his own people, but this time, he is towing a lot more mainstream Onkwehon:we weight with him with endorsements and affiliations with provincial and national Native organizations, whom he says have endorsed his resolve to bring about a national inquiry.