Canada and the United States have both been exceptionally horrible to the indigenous and native populations of this land. For generations and generations, we’ve broken treaties, stolen children, committed cultural and physical genocide, live on stolen land. Violence against indigenous and native women is unfortunately a part of our history and current narrative in both countries. And it’s a national disgrace.
*I do want to say that this is a rough topic to read about – it deals with rape, abuse, death, and other forms of violence. Just as a warning.
Some estimates say that missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada number around 4,000 and indigenous women are almost seven times more likely to be murdered than other women in the country. 4,000 is just an estimate though – finding exact numbers can be difficult for many reasons including under reporting. But even with that, it’s important to remember the murdered and missing indigenous women and work towards a future where these women are protected and honored.
And the US has a similar trend of violence against native women – an Amnesty International report has found that 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped and are more likely to be raped than non-native women. And finding help can be incredibly difficult for native women. All Things Considered has a segment about this issue from several years ago but it does get graphic in its description.
Recently, the government of Canada has stepped up and launched an inquiry into this violent problem. The newest Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke at an Assembly of First National special chiefs gathering back in December, making promises to look into this problem. And one of the first provinces to really take that step is Ontario, which recently pledged $100 million toward a three year program dedicated to investigating the roots of this violence.
And there are native women who are doing amazing work beyond bringing attention to this violent and sometimes fatal issue:
- These 4 Phenomenal Native Women Will Totally Make You Re-examine Your Relationship to Feminism – Taté Walker
- The Woman Behind Marlon Brando’s 1973 Oscars Protest Says Hollywood Still Sucks – Deborah Coughlin
- We Can’t ‘Get Over It’: 4 Ways Understanding Past Wrongs Can Create Better Indigenous Allies – Taté Walker