A New Report on Murdered/Missing Aboriginal Women (RELS 348)

Gloria Galloway’s article features a new update from the RCMP that promises to create a second report pertaining to Canada’s murdered and missing aboriginal women. Some speculators believe that data featuring the perpetrators’ ethnic background may be included in the new report. The first report, released last year, indicated that at least 1,181 indigenous women were murdered or disappeared between 1980-2012. The additionally first report did not indicate the perpetrators’ ethnic background, but cited that seventy-two percent of indigenous female victims were killed by a spouse, family member, or other intimate acquaintance, at least according to the Conservative Party’s Aboriginal Affairs minister Valcourt. Contradictorily however the same report noted that indigenous women who died violently were less likely than other Canadian women to have been killed by their romantic partners.

Noting the contradictory statements in one report, Bernice Martial, the Grand Chief of Treaty Six wrote to the RCMP demanding the release of all of the RCMP data concerning the murdered and missing aboriginal women. Valcourt and other members of the Conservative government have been stating that public inquiry was not necessary, as the murders were simply native men, shrinking the issue to one of domestic violence. Martial stated that she disputes Valcourt’s views and is certain that “the information is not accurate.” The NDP aboriginal affairs critic, Niki Ashton, said earlier in the week that the government is “engaging in race baiting and blaming the violence indigenous women face on indigenous men and indigenous communities” essentially absolves the government from taking responsibility and dealing with the problem on a broader level.

This article reminded me of the long-standing colonial legacy behind racial attitudes, especially when considering how the government today is engaging in “race baiting” to absolve itself responsibility. Shrinking the issue to one of domestic violence as well significantly disempowers the 1,181 cases of missing aboriginal women so far from being a systematic racism problem to one that is easily treatable.

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