Last week, media outlets across in Canada widely reported on a decades-old trafficking of women and children across Lake Superior between the ports of Thunder Bay and Duluth, Minnesota.
The reporting was based on a 2011 joint publication by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition & Prostitution Research and Education.
The study found that 39 percent of prostituted women were pulled into the sex trade when they were minors, and that 92 percent of the women interviewed wanted to escape from prostitution.
The report also found a strong correlation linking childhood sexual assault to adult prostitution amongst native women.
Over two-thirds of the women interviewed had family members who attended native residential schools.The U of Minnesota researcher told the CBC in an interview that “The men would often joke [to the young women] that ‘If you get out of control, we can always throw you overboard.”
The Ontario Native Women’s Association reports that anecdotal evidence suggest that many of these young women are being shipped to Thunder Bay from Winnipeg.
Thunder Bay police reportedly had no idea that native women and girls were being sold on ships in the U.S. One of the author’s of the 2011 study, Christine Stark, has another report being published in late September 2013.
RCMP appoints ‘Aboriginal woman’ to head of its Saskatchewan division
One hundred and forty years after the North-West Mounted Police was formed to repress Onkwehon:we people in the wake of the Red River Rebellion led by Louis Riel and to provide “law and order” for Canada’s westward colonization, the Canadian police force is heralding the appointment of its first native woman to the head of one of its divisions.
Chief Superintendent Brenda Butterworth-Carr, of the Tr’ondekHwech’in First Nation in Dawson City, Yukon, will become the first Indigenous commanding officer of the Saskatchewan division of the RCMP.
The appointment comes at a time when the RCMP has come under increased scrutiny after a February 2013 Human Rights Watch report accused the RCMP to be involved in the rape of Indigenous women, and in a context where the Harper government is resisting the growing chorus of voices calling for a federal inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Dene and Tlicho authorities in NWT oppose new diamond mine
Diamond corporations De Beers and Mountain Province Diamond are trying to push through a joint venture, the GahchoKuéopen-pit diamond mine, that would drain Kennedy Lake about 300km east of Yellowknife.
The project passed its environmental review last month, but the LutselK’e Dene, the Yellowknives Dene, and the Tlicho are all opposing the mine for its impacts.
The GahchoKué mine would be the NWT’s fourth diamond mine, and would run its course for over a decade.
Wolastaqiyik of the Saint John River Valley in New Brunswick resisting open-pit minePeople of the Wolastaqiyik (Maliseet) Nation from the St. Mary’s reserve are resisting the development of an open-pit tungsten mine on ancestral lands about 100km north of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Northcliff Resources has proposed the construction and operation of anopen pit tungsten and molybdenum mine at Sisson Brook.
Although the company has been trying to win support for the project amongst the Indigenous people of the Saint John River Valley, this week, St. Mary’s First Nation Chief Candace Paul said she will fight the proposed tungsten mine.