In Canada, we have a lot to be proud of.
We are a diverse nation made up of many different cultures and people. We are a country that is safe and has laws that protect us every day. We have the freedom to express ourselves, protest and make our voices heard.
But despite all of this, we have a national shame that has only recently started to get the attention it deserves. The crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
According to data from the RCMP, Indigenous women make up 16 per cent of all female homicide victims, and 11 per cent of missing women, even though Indigenous people make up 4.3 per cent of the population of Canada.
Alberta in particular has had a huge issues with MMIWG.
The province has the second highest rate of cases, just under British Columbia. We also have the lowest clearance rate of cases in the country, at just 42 per cent. A clearance rate is calculated by dividing the number of crimes that have a charge laid by the total number of crimes recorded.
According to the Government of Alberta, there were 206 murdered Aboriginal women between 1980-2012, 28 per cent of all female homicides in the province during that time period. As of November 2013, there are 19 unresolved missing Aboriginal females and 28 unsolved murders.
And our capital has a horrible track record for MMIWG.
Project KARE was created by the RCMP in 2003 to look into a series of seemingly related murders and disappearances in the Edmonton area. According to an investigative article by the Globe and Mail, since the late 1980s, many women had been found murdered in the forests and fields on the city’s outskirts and a disproportionate amount of them were Indigenous.
The Globe and Mail found that 63 per cent of the victims were Indigenous, but only about 5.6 per cent of the city’s female population is indigenous.
The Government of Canada launched an independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in September 2016.
The Inquiry was aimed to ‘look at services that are meant to create healthy, protective and livable communities across Canada’ and at how Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S are affected by such programming.
As Canadians, we can no longer allow this to continue. Actions have been taken and the problems persist, so we need to do more.
To find out how you can help visit the website for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).