OTTAWA – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) announces the creation of a ground-breaking, online, interactive map to show where Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people have died at the hands of killers or where they were last seen if they are missing. Called Safe Passage, the mapping project casts a spotlight on missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. It also provides resources and educational tools designed to inspire transformational change.
The cross-country map highlights the enormity of these crimes, which the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has called a genocide. The map can be used to identify patterns of violence and, potentially, the work of serial killers.
It can also help alert Indigenous women to areas that may be particularly dangerous.
“We need to know where these crimes are happening so that we can do more to protect ourselves,” says Lynne Groulx, NWAC’s CEO. “The magnitude of this genocide cannot possibly be appreciated if large numbers of its victims remain invisible. If the federal government were to take the Inquiry’s Calls for Justice seriously, we would already have this information. But it doesn’t–and a full picture of our missing and murdered daughters, mothers, sisters, and aunties is inexcusably incomplete.”
The development and public release of the map is one of the 65 costed measures contained in Our Calls, Our Actions. NWAC released this action plan in early June by NWAC to outline how it will begin to address the 231 Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry.
NWAC partnered with Nanos Research Group of Companies to create the map. “The Nanos Research mapping team is very proud to work together with NWAC to put a spotlight on the crimes against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. This map represents a space where information and critical resources are shared as part of a broader call for justice,” says Nik Nanos, the Chief Data Scientist and Founder of the Nanos Research Group of Companies.
The initial version of the map is populated with just over 300 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people, collected by the CBC. But that represents a small fraction of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women who have lost their lives to this tragedy. NWAC also has hundreds of cases collected by its Sisters in Spirit initiative, which ran until 2010. The association is currently going through those cases, verifying them, and adding them to the map.
The NWAC map is a public document. Canadians are urged to contribute by providing names, dates, and details of other women, girls, and gender-diverse people who have been murdered or gone missing. NWAC will vet, verify, and add this information to the map.
Along with the mapping data, the Safe Passage project offers a collection of online resources designed to educate, raise awareness, and, ultimately, help to break the cycle of violence and loss. Through partnerships with Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Truckers Against Trafficking, Intertek, and Tungasuvvingat Inuit, materials were developed that include awareness training for Indigenous community members as well as educational information for people working in the transportation and hospitality industries.