Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

In Canada, it would not be unreasonable to say that an Aboriginal woman’s life is not as valued as a non-aboriginal woman’s life. It would not be unreasonable to say that to Stephen Harper this is not an issue, since even though he remains under pressure from the United Nations, he will not take accountability and launch a National Inquiry for these missing and murdered women. I wouldn’t be lying to say that indigenous women are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted and physically abused then non-aboriginal women, and the rate that aboriginal women go missing cannot go unnoticed.

Police have reviewed a total of 1,181 instances of Aboriginal female homicides and unsolved missing Aboriginal women investigations. This number is made up from 1,017 Aboriginal female murder victims between 1980 and 2012, and 164 presently considered missing. Of these, there are a total of 225 unresolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal women.

Although society as a whole loves to say Canada is full of equality, respect and understanding for all cultures, it’s hard to believe when we look at gut-wrenching facts such as these. It is hard for people to understand just why these numbers exist, and why our higher-ups aren’t doing anything about it. Aboriginal women faced with these odds will wake up every day, wondering which one of their mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts or friends could potentially be on the list next. With these odds, it only seems inevitable.

In media representations of Aboriginal women, it is prevalent that they seem to be a disposable part of our society. The low solution rate of these crimes over time creates a norm. Missing and murdered Aboriginal woman appear to be standard, something that happens all the time. This is upsetting to think about in comparison with other crimes, especially the ones that involve non-aboriginal affiliated crimes.

One example that comes to mind is when a teenager who lived in Halifax, killed herself because of large amounts of cyber-bullying. In one article posted by the Huffington Post, it is mentioned that Stephen Harper reached out to her family personally, as well as quickly put into play an anti-cyberbullying bill, Bill-14. Actions such as these have been unheard of while dealing with the long list of missing and murdered Aboriginal woman’s cases. Many cases just get pushed under the carpet, remaining unsolved. Solving these crimes will certainly not bring the murdered woman back, but it will bring closure to friends and family and justice to the perpetrators. Finding missing women should unquestionably be a priority, with hopes they are still alive and can be returned safely to their homes.

I feel if we as a society put more pressure on our government to provide proper funding in order to stop the missing and murdered Aboriginal women epidemic in Canada, then something will be eventually be done. Stephen Harper can’t possibly ignore a national outcry concerning over a thousand women and the odds that the rest of the Aboriginal population is faced with, especially when he publicly acknowledges one non-aboriginal over cyberbullying.

As an Aboriginal woman myself, I feel as if Aboriginal women in the media are victimized and stripped of their humanity. Aboriginal woman seem to be targeted as lesser human beings because of their culture, and once again because they are simply women. A woman is supposed to be equal to a man. So one question I ask myself, that everyone should ask themselves, is if everyone is “equal,” than why we are not treated equally during the reoccurring murders and abductions? Over 1,000 women is too high of a number to ignore, for any culture. Since this is not just any culture – it’s my culture – I will no longer stay quiet.

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1 Comment

  1. In 1982 there were 3.58 males murdered for every 1.74 females. That’s over twice as many male victims of homicide.
    By 2012 murders seem to have dropped for both genders. But 2.24 males are expected to be victims of a homicide compared to 0.88 women. (1) That’s almost 3 times as many males dying by murder as opposed to females.
    When it comes to deaths of native people, Aboriginal men are murdered at higher rate than aboriginal women. The murder rate for Aboriginal males is as low as 71% in comparison to Aboriginal females. However some studies indicate aboriginal males are the victims of homicide at more than twice the rate of female Aboriginals. “In total, nearly 2,500 aboriginal people were murdered in the past three decades: 1,750 male, 745 female and one person of unknown gender.” (2) All information comes directly or indirectly from Statistics Canada
    ”Although society as a whole loves to say Canada is full of equality, respect and understanding for all cultures, it’s hard to believe when we look at gut-wrenching facts such as these. “ is very true, it’s just appalling that murdered males are TOTALLY excluded from this topic.

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