MMIWG Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

MMIWG
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
A National Crisis

  • Native Women’s Association, Amnesty International Canada, KAIROS, Elizabeth Fry Society and United Anglican Church form “National Coalition for our Stolen Sisters”

    Background: In two separate instances in 1994, 15-year old Aboriginal girls, Roxanna Thiara and Alishia Germaine, were found murdered in Prince George in eastern British Columbia. The body of a third 15-year old Aboriginal girl, Ramona Wilson who disappeared that same year, was found in Smithers in central British Columbia in April of 1995.
    Only in 2002 after the disappearance of a 26-year old non- Aboriginal women, Nicola Hoar, while hitchhiking along a road that connects Prince George and Smithers, did media attention focus on the unsolved murders and other disappearances along what has been dubbed “the Highway of Tears”.
    Violations of Indigenous Rights (2002).

    Highway Of Tears BC

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  • Stolen Sisters

    In 2004, Amnesty International released a report in response to mounting evidence of violence and discrimination against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. This report, entitled “Stolen Sisters,” documented the many cases of Aboriginal women and girls who had been murdered or gone missing.

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  • Sisters In Spirit

    Funded by Status of Women Canada (SWC), Sisters in Spirit (SIS) was a research, education, and policy initiative driven and led by Indigenous women. The primary goal was to conduct research and raise awareness of the alarming high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Over the years, the SIS initiative developed a database of 582 missing or murdered Indigenous women.

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  • First candlelight October 4th vigil is held

    On October 4th, 2006, the first candlelight Sisters in Spirit vigil was held. Now, every year, family members,
    Aboriginal communities, and concerned citizens gather on this day to honour the memory of missing and murdered
    Indigenous women and girls.

  • Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit: A Report to Families and Communities (2nd edition)

    The Life Stories of nine Indigenous women and girls who have been found murdered, based on interviews with their loved ones. Too often media reports sensationalize the incidents, without delving into the story of the woman or girl and her unique experiences. Here we honour the nine missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls by telling their stories through the eyes of their families.
    Amber Redman, Beatrice Sinclair, Daleen Kay Bosse (Muskego), Danita BigEagle, Debbie Sloss, Delores Whiteman, Georgina Papin, Nina Courtepatte and Terrie Ann Dauphinais (pictures)?
    Report

    Nina Courtepatte

    Amber Redman

    Daleen Kay Bosse

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  • Defunding of Sisters in Spirit

    In December 2010, funding from Status of Women Canada for Sisters in Spirit was terminated. In order to receive new funding,
    NWAC was forced to discontinue the SIS database and change the initiative’s name to “Evidence to Action.” Despite their substantially reduced funding, NWAC published their research findings from the SIS project in March 2010, with a report called “What Their Stories Tell Us.”

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  • Culminating Research Report on 5-year Sisters In Spirit Initiative

    As of March 31, 2010, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has gathered information about the disappearance or death of more than 580 Aboriginal women and girls across Canada. What Their Stories Tell Us: Research findings from the Sisters In Spirit initiative brings together five years of research related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The purpose of this report:
    -What are the circumstances, root causes and trends leading to violence against Indigenous women in Canada?
    -How many Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been found murdered in Canada?
    -Why this violence has led to such disturbingly high numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada without connection by police or justice authorities?

    Maisy Odjick

    Kelly Morrisseau

    Tashina General

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  • Canada Officially Endorses UNDRIP, after Initial Objection in 2007

    After close to 30 years of development, in 2007 the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was officially adopted by many countries at the UN General Assembly, save four – Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. As a foundational document that sets out the human rights standards for the world’s Indigenous populations, Canada’s isolation in failing to endorse UNDRIP put a stain on the Government’s reputation as a human rights defender. While Indigenous leaders in Canada applauded Canada’s endorsement of UNDRIP three years later, the use of terms like “aspirational document” and “non-binding” by Harper’s Government caused skepticism among non-profit groups and Aboriginal organizations, namely concern over the land dispute and natural resource extraction portions of the historic accord. By calling UNDRIP “non-legally binding”, the Harper government sought to absolve themselves from any legal responsibility in protecting Indigenous peoples’ fundamental rights, and by suggesting that the claiming that the legal framework concerning Indigenous peoples was satisfactory.

    UnitedNations

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    UNDRIP Article 22(2): “States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous
    women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination”

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  • Faceless Dolls Project

    NWAC contacted artist Gloria Larocque, creator of the Aboriginal Angel Doll Project, to explore the possibility of a similar display that would carry forward the visual representation of Indigenous women who have become “faceless” victims of violence. This collaboration resulted in NWAC’s Faceless Doll Project. Throughout the year, community members were invited to create their own dolls at workshops held across the country.

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  • FAFIA and NWAC Present Briefing Paper on MMIWG before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

    NWAC and FAFIA have been seeking co-operation and co-ordinated action from governments in Canada for many years. Now we seek the assistance of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission can encourage and assist Canada to address the violations of the human rights of Aboriginal women and girls which are taking place, and to put in place the programs, protocols, standards, and practices that will meet the nation’s obligation to exercise due diligence to prevent, protect, investigate and remedy violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

    fafia-afai

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  • RCMP Releases its Report on MMIW, 1980-2012

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) released its Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview illustrating the statistics behind reported incidents of missing and murdered Indigenous women across all police jurisdictions in Canada from 1980-2012. The report was based on four topics: the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, homicide perpetrator characteristics, the factors behind outstanding cases, and victim circumstances.

    • 1 181 missing and murdered Indigenous women (1017 murdered and 164 missing)
    • Most homicides are committed by men, usually known by the victim
    • Indigenous women are overrepresented among Canada’s missing and murdered women

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  • National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls in Ottawa

    The National Roundtable brought together federal, provincial and territorial governments in partnership with National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) to:
    1. Create a dialogue with all levels of government, Indigenous representatives and families to effectively address the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls;

    2. Identify solutions and collaborative means of moving them forward, including the ongoing engagement of Indigenous Peoples, families and communities in reducing and eliminating all forms of violence.

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  • Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the Committee on the Elimination of
    Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the
    Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

    Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) final Report on its Inquiry into Missing
    and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

    (CEDAW) final Report on its Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action Report released

    “We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry’s mandate would include:
    i. Investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
    ii. Links to the intergenerational legacy of residential schools.”

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  • The Newly Elected Liberal Government Launches Pre-Inquiry Design
    Process for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

    Led by Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett Minister of Status of Women, Patty Hajdu Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
    The government held meetings across Canada with survivors, family members and loved ones, as well as National Aboriginal Organizations, provincial/territorial representatives, front-line organizations and others to gather input on the design and scope of the inquiry through online surveys, by phone, by email, by regular mail, by social media, and in-person meetings. Summaries of each meeting can be found here –

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  • 2nd National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Winnipeg, MB

    Some of the outcomes from the 2nd National Roundtable were:

    • Continue with coordinated collaboration and action to prevent and address violence against Indigenous women and girls during the National Inquiry on MMIWG.
    • The importance of a national inquiry on MMIWG, with federal, provincial and territorial governments committing to participation and full cooperation in the process.
    • Supporting the development of Indigenous-led cultural competency, anti-racism and anti-sexism training programs for all public servants across governments, police and the justice system to include components focused on Indigenous history, impacts of policies, legislation and historical trauma.
    • Supporting the development of Indigenous-led cultural competency, anti-racism and anti-sexism training programs for all public servants across governments, police and the justice system to include components focused on Indigenous history, impacts of policies, legislation and historical trauma.
  • NWAC releases recommendations for MMIWG Inquiry through National Pre-Inquiry Report

  • Government of Canada Officially Launches the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

  • NWAC releases a Report Card on the progress of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls covering the period of September 1st to December 31st, 2016. Drafted to reflect the success of the Inquiry in meeting its directives and mandates as it progresses, NWAC is employing this tool to provide the public with a comprehensive update and in an effort to participate in and actively impact the operations of the inquiry going forward. NWAC commits to releasing comprehensive updates quarterly.

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    NWAC posts a press release informing families as to how they may participate in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and what that participation may look like.

You know all women from birth to death
We seek your knowledge
We seek your strength
Some are STARS up there with you
Some are STARS on Mother Earth
Grandmother, lighten our path in the dark
Creator, keep our sisters safe from harm
Maa duu? Mussi cho
-Kukdookaa

Fact Sheets
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Root Causes of Violence against Aboriginal Women



Violence Against Aboriginal Women



Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls



Community Resource Guide: What Can I Do to Help the Families of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls?



Documentaries
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

VICELAND releases Woman: by Gloria Steinem documentary

 

How come all these cases go unsolved? They just don’t matter. They’re just another Indian

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Artwork in honour of MMIWG
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Walking With Our Sisters Project by Christi Belcourt

Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) is a massive community based commemorative project that is a memorial ceremony to
honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and their families. It includes 1810 pairs moccasin vamps (tops) plus
118 pairs of children’s vamps created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to
this injustice. WWOS  is on a seven year tour in Canada and part of the United States and will end in 2019.

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Christi Belcourt is one of Canada’s preeminent Michif (Metis) visual artists whose ancestry originates from
the Manitou Sakhigan (Lac Ste. Anne) community in Alberta, Canada. Named the 2014 Aboriginal Arts Laureate by
the Ontario Arts Council, her work can be found within numerous public art collections ranging from the National Gallery
of Canada in Ottawa, the Gabriel Dumont Institute in Saskatoon, to Centre Block on Parliament Hill. She is best known for
her acrylic paintings inspired by Indigenous beadwork art, but has also worked with traditional art materials such as hides,
clay, copper, wool trade cloth and birch bark.

 

Sisters In Spirit Quilt, by Minaachimo-Kwe/Alice Olsen Williams

The Sisters In Spirit Quilt was created as a venue for Indigenous peoples to express
their reaction and emotional response to the “unfair treatment and abuses suffered by our
People” and, as a result, launched a Call for Quilt Squares. All the squares she collected were
joined together to form a larger quilt, which NWAC staff travelled with to raise awareness about MMIWG.

Minaachimo-Kwe/Alice Olsen Williams is an Anishinaabe woman from Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario.
She is also one of earliest and loudest advocates of NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit initiative. By combining the
traditional skills of beadwork and sewing of the Anishinaabe people, Alice integrates unique quilted
textile works which blend expressions of Anishinaabe culture, healing practices with reflections on
contemporary social issues and indigenous activism.

Grandmother Moon
To the Women who have Gone Before Us
For the Healing of All Aboriginal Women
Good People Box Me In
Sharing Hope and Inspiration
Thunderbird Totem: Phoenix Rising

 

Women Walking Together
Highway 500+
Invincible Woman
Wolf
Crazy-patch
In Honour of 3 Mi'gmaq Women

The REDress Project by Jaime Black

The REDress Project focuses around the issue of missing or murdered Indigenous Women and
Girls across Canada. It is an installation art project based on an aesthetic response to
this critical national issue. The project is a collection of 600 red dresses by community donation are installed as
visual art exhibitions throughout Canada as a visual reminder of the staggering number of gendered and racialized
violent crimes against Indigenous women and girls by evoking a presence through the marking of absence.

 

Jaime Black is an emerging, Métis multidisciplinary artist based in Winnipeg. She studied English Literature
at the University of Manitoba and has an Education degree from The Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. She
has taught in Opaskwayak Cree Nation in the Pas, Manitoba, has worked developing art curriculum for the Urban Shaman:
Contemporary Aboriginal Art, and has long been involved in the Aboriginal writers and artists communities in Winnipeg.
She is currently a mentee with Mentoring Artists for Womens Art (MAWA).

Red Dress by Amanda Rheaume and Chantal Kreviazuk

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Other Important Information MMIWG
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Rinelle Harper, sexual assault and violence survivor, calls for National Inquiry into MMIWG

Rinelle Harper Calls For National Inquiry

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Sisters In Spirit Initiative by Elizabeth Bastien

Research Findings, Policy Challenges,
and Lessons Learned: The Native Women’s Association of
Canada’s Sisters In Spirit Initiative by Elizabeth Bastien

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International Campaigns For MMIWG
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

To the Indigenous Woman, Indian Law Resource Centre (Washington DC)

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One Billion Rising Movement (2013)

One Billion Rising Movement (2013)

Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (Montreal)

Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (Montreal)

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