The purpose of this site is to form a group that meets, plans events, and develops tactics to pressure the government to take action, all in consultation with affected communities.
March 17th, 2009–Press Release
Montreal, Mohawk Territory / -Since the Walk4Justice rally on Parliament Hill in September 2008, five Indigenous women have gone missing in Quebec alone. Sixteen-year old Tera Jolly’s body was found a little over a week ago in Waskaganish, while the other cases remain unresolved.
September’s rally marked the end of a 90-day walk from Vancouver to Ottawa led by hundreds of First Nations women and men. The aim of the Walk was to pressure the Canadian government into taking action. Those who participated in the Walk arrived in Ottawa with a list of 3000 names of missing and murdered women they had compiled along the way.
Seven years after Sue Martin’s 24-year old daughter was murdered in her Calgary home, there is still no conviction.
“She was treated like a bag of garbage,” Martin says of the police treatment of her daughter’s case. “She wasn’t a bag of garbage. She was a mother, a sister, an auntie, a friend.”
Indigenous women living in Canada are five times more at risk of dying a violent death than other women, according to a Canadian government statistic. A study by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) concluded that 510 indigenous girls and women have gone missing or been murdered since 1980, and calls for an emergency strategy. Some activists believe the number of missing to be much higher, as many cases go unreported, often due to distrust between First Nations communities and police.
Amnesty International issued a comprehensive report in 2004 entitled “Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada,” and the UN recently called on the Canadian government to investigate why hundreds of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women remain unsolved.
The report is asking Ottawa to report back in a year on the status of more than 500 cases that “have neither been fully investigated nor attracted priority attention, with the perpetrators remaining unpunished.”
Jacobs points out that “if there were 510 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada that would equal 18,000 women among Canada’s white population.”
“If there were 18,000 white women missing and murdered, it would be headlines,” she says. “There would be something done immediately.”