NewNews


Maisy Odjick, a 16 year-old from the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi near Maniwaki (Quebec) has disappeared since September 8, 2008. In the words of LAURIE ODJICK, Maisy’s mother, the response of police services has been “incompetent, unprofessional, uncooperative [and] unaccountable.” The May 2009 edition of No One Is Illegal Radio features an interview with Laurie Odjick, who has been organizing and struggling for justice and answers in the case of her missing daughter. Listen to the interview here....

Read More

http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3252625 By Jessica Cable In June of 2008 the first Walk 4 Justice set out from Vancouver, honouring the 2,932 missing and murdered women the group had named in their database of research and demanding a national public inquiry from the government. Four years later the walkers are once again on route to Ottawa, this time, however, they’re walking for the 4,200 women they say have now been murdered or gone missing across Canada. “It doesn’t get any easier and it’s escalating. We want to stop violence against women once and for all,” said Walk 4 Justice’s co-founder Gladys Radek, whose niece disappeared in 2005 off of the Highway of Tears in Northern B.C. “What do we want? We want justice and we want it now.” Radek, along with the group’s co-founder Bernie Williams and 10 other walkers, arrived in Kenora last night, each one of them sharing tragic stories about a missing or murdered family member to a room of supporters at First Baptist Church. The group of women and men are taking their stories to rally on Parliament Hill, where they plan to arrive on Sept. 19. The group is advocating for proper support programs, education and public safety nets to be put in place. “Our own stories keep us going,” said Williams, a long-time advocate for women living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “You do get bitter after a while, though. You don’t see the change happening and you see the numbers increasing and you see programs for women and children getting cut and you see the systematic racism. I’m so tired of being stereotyped. These women had a right to live.” The Walk 4 Justice support vehicles are covered with photographs and details of women who have been murdered or gone missing. “We asked for permission from the families we’ve met, either from the walk, emails or rallies, to carry those pictures,” said Williams. “They’re of women from 1986 to 2011.” Since the walk began on June 21, Williams said 19 women have been murdered or gone missing. One of the most recent cases is the gruesome death of 32-year-old Roberta McIvor, whose body was found decapitated on Sandy Bay First Nation on July 30. The group of walkers visited McIvor’s family while walking through Manitoba. “For myself, it was very emotional. Roberta’s mom brought us to where they found her remains. We need to stand by her, but it was just so emotional and heavy on all of us,” said Williams, adding this year’s walk will likely be her last. “I’ve been (drawing attention to the issue) since 1986 and it’s taken a toll on...

Read More

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/3764 by Angela Sterritt VANCOUVER—Ten million dollars set aside by the Harper government to address the crisis of missing or murdered Aboriginal women will be redirected to the Department of Justice and the Ministry of Public Safety. And that has some groups, like Vancouver’s Walk 4 Justice, fuming. “We have the answers and tools already because we’ve been working on this issue for a long time,” said Gladys Radek, a co-founder of the Indigenous-led campaign. Radek was jolted into action when her niece, Tamara Chipman, disappeared in 2005 along Highway 16 in northern British Columbia. She has since organized three walks—the first a 4,000-kilometre march from Vancouver to Ottawa in the summer of 2008—to press the federal government to initiate a public inquiry and deal with the root causes of violence against Indigenous women. “This funding will do nothing to address the issue,” she said. “This is about power and control again.” Eight months after the 2010 budget release of promised funding, Minister for Status of Women Rona Ambrose announced the money will be spent on seven different initiatives, the bulk on a national police support center for missing persons. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) quickly expressed their alarm. “While NWAC is supportive in principle to see the Government of Canada taking steps to address the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, we must undoubtedly express our disappointment with the exclusion of Sisters In Spirit in the ongoing development of public policy in the matter,” they stated in a release. The Conservatives kept Sisters in Spirit—NWAC’s research, education and policy initiative that deals with missing and murdered Aboriginal women—in limbo for eight months, and then gave NWAC only a day’s notice before the announcement was finally made. Status of Women officials made clear to NWAC that any new funding proposals would not permit the use of the Sisters in Spirit name or the continuation of their groundbreaking and growing database. Since 2005, Sisters in Spirit has been gathering complex statistical information on violence against Aboriginal women. It has shown that more than 582 Aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada since roughly 1980. Twenty of the cases have occurred in the past year, and 226 in the past 10 years. Such information was previously scattered and highly deficient. Liberal MP and Official Opposition Critic for Status of Women, Anita Neville believes the Conservative government’s move was deceptive. “It was a duplicitous announcement,” Neville said. “Ambrose framed it as ten million going towards Aboriginal women but a good deal is going to their own justice systems, not Aboriginal women. Sisters in Spirit was told...

Read More

By Sarah Harrison If we stop gathering information, the problem will go away. Or at least, this appears to be the Conservative government’s reasoning. On Wednesday, November 3rd the federal government announced that Sisters in Spirit, an advocacy group for Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women, will no longer receive funding unless they a/ quit working on their internationally acclaimed database, b/ don’t use government funds for research and policy, and c/ change their name to “Evidence and Action”. It appears to me that there is a trend in Ottawa to de-fund organizations and programs that collect data valuable to social (justice) work in Canada. Sisters in Spirit is only the latest in what is becoming a laundry list of information de-funding. Throughout 2010 the Conservative government has refused to release documents concerning torture allegations of Afghani Detainees, has scrapped the mandatory Long Form Census, and has attempted to eliminate the Long-Gun Registry. Each action involves limiting and denying access to information on issues of significant social concern. I can only speculate on the reasons behind Harper’s decisions to limit or eliminate data collection and information availability (power? control? punishment? all of the above?). But I can suggest what some of the results may be. Without information it’s difficult to identify problems and substantiate critiques. Facts, statistics, patterns and trends are all compiled from sources like Sisters in Spirit database. Without agencies retrieving and compiling the information problems are difficult see, let alone to prove. Context is missing. Restricting independent research and access to information leaves an issue susceptible to propaganda, with no historical or social context to be drawn upon. We are reduced to anecdotal evidence, short-term thinking, and hyperbole. De-funding becomes punishment. Cutting or restricting funding based upon a group’s information gathering puts a chill on criticizing or questioning the government. Social justice, Aboriginal and women’s groups have already felt the silencing effect of de-funding data collection. No need to argue. When groups that compile data are restricted or cut, the public looses access to valuable information. Simply erase the problems by eliminating the information. The result? A government that no longer has to formulate an argument to address criticisms. Cutting the Sisters in Spirit project may be framed as a minor budgeting decision. But understood in relation to this government’s previous efforts to silence information, this project represents two major issues the Harper government doesn’t want anyone to speak about: women and Aboriginals. Thankfully, history shows us that no matter what those in power do, women and Aboriginals refuse to go...

Read More

SUPPORT RENÉE ACOBY Renée Acoby, an Ojibwe woman from Manitoba, is currently facing the Dangerous Offender application following a public hearing in Kitchener. She was originally convicted ten years ago on a 3.5-year sentence for trafficking cocaine and assault with a weapon. Pregnant when imprisoned, her one-year-old was removed from her after she smoked marijuana and took some valium one evening at an innovative prison called the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal women (Maple Creek, Saskatchewan), which was itself under pressure to adhere to government regulations. What you know about me, poem by Renee I don’t come from anywhere special I’m not a “G” from any hood Just an ordinary person that wrestles With dilemmas, Bad or Good. But you’re quick to claim That you know who I am~ In reality you don’t give a damn. You just want the Association ~AFFILIATION~ The media hype and greed Of being linked to a diabolical seed~ To live vicariously through Renée The alleged psychopath To pave history, make or break~ Incur the system’s wrath. Transparent. Superficial, The Judicial fight~ A living body, Agonized mentality Out of reach, Out of sight. I don’t come from anywhere special I’m not a “G” from any hood Just an ordinary person that wrestles with who I am, Bad or Good. In 2004, Renée was the first woman in Canada to be placed on the Management Protocol (MP), a punitive system which involves prolonged periods in solitary confinement. In 2005, the United Nations expressed serious concerns about Canada’s treatment of women prisoners. In 2007, the National Aboriginal Women’s Summit published a paper declaring that the MP contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and should be abolished immediately. At times, women are forbidden access to pencil and paper, books, phone calls and visitation. All of the time, they have little or no contact with family, no community supports, little or no training for future employment, no sweat lodges, no sustained contact with elders, no sweetgrass… Currently, the four women on the MP are all Aboriginal women. Locked up for 23 hours per day in cells approximately 8′ x 12′, with access to an exercise yard of c.15 x 12 metres for the remaining hour, they have very restricted physical outlet for pent-up emotion. Having been on the Management Protocol longer than the other women (including the ill-fated Ashley Smith), Renée Acoby has accumulated a 21-year sentence from actions in jail. See “Life on the Installment Plan”, The Walrus, March, 2010. If designated a dangerous offender, Renée could receive an indeterminate penitentiary sentence, which means that she is unlikely ever to get out of prison...

Read More

http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2010/11/04/moon-setting-on-sisters-in-spirit/ By Jorge Barrera APTN National News The Conservative government is opposing the use of the name Sisters and Spirit and any work on a groundbreaking database on murdered and missing Aboriginal women cases if the Native Women’s Association of Canada expects to receive any funding for new projects on the issue, sources say. The Conservative government has been slowly “smothering” the Sisters in Spirit project which is responsible for bringing to national attention the hundreds of “shocking” cases of murdered and missing Aboriginal women, sources familiar with the file say. During discussions around a new Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) project on mudered and missing women, department officials have said rules around the funding’s source program prevented the use of government money from research and policy work. They have asked that funding proposals not include the name Sisters in Spirit or any plans to use the money for the database, sources say. A spokeswoman for Status of Women said they were still awaiting the proposal. Nanci Jean-Waugh, however, said she could not immediately answer questions on whether the department had imposed conditions on new funding. Politically, it appears the Conservatives have now turned the page on Sisters in Spirit. “That project was finished. Don’t mix apples and oranges,” said Conservative MP Shelly Glover, parliamentary secretary for Indian Affairs. “That project was finished, now we’re working with them to pursue other projects.” Only last Friday, Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose singled out Sisters in Spirit during the government’s long-awaited $10 million announcement on a national strategy to deal with murdered and missing women cases. “The journey truly began with an initiative called Sisters in Spirit that was led by the Native Women’s Association of Canada,” said Ambrose, during the announcement in Vancouver. “The association has undertaken an incredible amount of research…and they have brought to light the shocking extent of these horrendous acts of violence.” The Oct. 29 announcement highlighted the creation of a new police support centre for missing persons, along with promised amendments to the Criminal Code to allow police to wiretap without warrants in emergencies and obtain multiple warrants on a single application. It also promised funding for community-based projects on violence against Aboriginal women and enhancing the cultural sensitivity of victim’s services. It was criticized by some front-line workers, victims’ families, academics and opposition politicians over its lack of focus on Aboriginal women and its emphasis on giving more money and power to police. NWAC, however, publicly endorsed the strategy and the Conservatives have since invoked the 35-year-old organization’s name as a shield against criticism of the announcement. Yet, over several months, the...

Read More
↓