Missing Justice is a Montreal-based grassroots collective that fights in solidarity with Indigenous families, activists, communities, and organizations to achieve justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women living in “Quebec” and the rest of “Canada.”
Gendered and racialized violence against Indigenous women in Canada is a historical and ongoing problem of epidemic proportions. Canada’s Indian Act, often termed one of the most racist and sexist pieces of legislation in the world, along with forced assimilation programs like the country’s residential school legacy, have both contributed significantly toward cultivating a society in which Indigenous women today are at least five times more likely than other women living in Canada to die as the result of violence.
A recent study by the Native Women’s Association of Canada has found that many victims are targeted simply because they are Indigenous women and their attackers assume they will not fight back or be missed.
This disproportionate level of violence must be understood in the context of a colonial strategy that has sought to dehumanize Indigenous women, with the ultimate goal of appropriating First Nations’ lands and resources. From early fur traders to agriculture to hydroelectric power, oil, uranium and mineral extraction, land theft and its attendant violence continues to fuel the Canadian economy.
Centuries of encroachment on Indigenous territories, which continues to this day, is a direct cause of the disproportionately high rates of poverty that many Indigenous people living in cities or on reserves experience. Women are among the most vulnerable of this already marginalized population.
Since roughly 1980, there have been between 583 and 3000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Reasons for this intense statistical disparity are largely due to inadequate police and media reports, and a lack of government interest in the results of its own policies.
A disproportionate number of known cases remain unresolved due to systemic racism at the governmental level, in the court system, police forces, the corporate media, and, by extension, in Canadian society as a whole.
Missing Justice seeks to promote community awareness and political action through popular education, direct action, and coalition-building, all of these in consultation with and in support of First Nations families, activists, communities and organizations. As a solidarity collective, we strive to support and reiterate demands already made by Indigenous activists, the families of victims, Native organizations, and international bodies including the UN and Amnesty International. Our demands include a public investigation, adequate funding for research, support for Native-run women’s centres and shelters, and anti-oppression training for police.
In addition to calling for immediate action to counter violence against Indigenous women, Missing Justice supports First Nations’ struggles for self-determination. We acknowledge the direct links between violence against Indigenous women and First Nations’ struggles against land appropriation, assimilation and poverty, all of which are enforced by the dominant notion that society must be founded on capital gain and patriarchal values.
With the full picture in view, we feel that positive change can be made. We believe that we are at a turning point. Using a diversity of tactics, we are taking responsibility for these legacies together.