This title expires June 30th, 2021
Abuse, Canadian History, Canadian Social Issues, Canadian Social Studies, Criminal Justice & Law, Current Events, First Nations Studies, History, Social Issues, Social Sciences, Social Studies, Violence, Women's Studies
9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Violence against women is a significant issue in society. According to the World Health Organization, it affects one third of women around the world. Violence against women is also a serious issue in Canada, unfortunately. One particular group of Canadian women merit special attention: Indigenous women and girls in Canada experience a scale and severity of violence that constitutes a national human rights crisis.
The issue of violence against aboriginal women and girls is a systematic one with deep roots in sexism, poverty and racism. To properly address the situation, one must understand the history and impact of colonization on Aboriginal peoples in Canada. There has been a cycle of trauma and abuse brought on by residential schools, and by the 60s Scoop - where large numbers of aboriginal children were forcibly taken into the child welfare system. Government and church have interfered with First Nations traditional practices for over 500 years.
This informative video gives an overview of the history of trauma and abuse experienced by Aboriginal women in Canada. We trace its roots from early colonialism in Canada to recent actions by the Canadian government, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the release of the RCMP report on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada.
Running Time: 12
Country of Origin: Canada
Producer: McIntyre Media Inc.
Copyright Date: 2016
- Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada. Violence against women is a significant issue in society. According to the World Health Organization, it affects one third of women around the world.
- Violence against women is also a serious issue in Canada, unfortunately. One particular group of Canadian women merit special attention. Indigenous women and girls in Canada experience a scale and severity of violence that constitutes a national human rights crisis.
- This is my child's remain.
- Susan Martin's daughter's neck was broken, her body bruised from head to toe. No one has yet been charged for the murder.
- Murder is evil. Murder shatters your heart.
- | May, 2014, the RCMP issued a landmark report on missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.
- Aboriginal women continue to be over represented among Canada's missing and murdered women. And while I applaud the efforts of everyone who's working to lessen violence against aboriginal women, it is clear that much work remains to be done.
- Indigenous women make up 4.3% of the Canadian population, but the report found that they account for 16% of female homicides, and 11.3% of missing women. Those figures are four times higher than that faced by all other women in Canada.
- I can assure you that it is not lost on us that each number, that each statistic, represents someone's mother, someone's daughter, someone's sister, or a loved one.
- We will get this right. For the spirit and the memories of those we have lost.
- It's a promise she's been waiting to hear. Because for Sue Caribou, life has been cruel. Five family members murdered, her niece, Tania Nepinak, believed to be another victim. Her body has never been found.
- It's been a hard journey for me, but I have grandkids and children that I love so much. I don't want them to ever go through this.
- What is happening to our aboriginal women and girls, it has been going on for far too long, and it must end now.
- For years, the families and friends of these victims have called for a national inquiry that had been refused under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. After the Federal Election in October, 2015, the newly elected liberal government announced that an inquiry would we launched.
- The goal is not to lay blame, but to seek answers, justice, and support for families.
- What happens if nothing gets done? What happens if we just keep going the way we're going?
- There will be more girls. There will be, I mean, I have three daughters myself. And this has been, obviously, a grave concern. And we hope that but we're not having to be on the TV, having to look at more beautiful, young faces of women who have been stolen from our communities. Because that's really what's happening.
- Still happening.
- They're not going missing like I've misplaced my keys. These girls, somebody's sister, somebody's daughter, they have been stolen from our communities. And that is just an absolute tragedy. And it's going to keep happening if we don't have a sustained and effective response to this.
- It's beyond a crisis issue. It's an issue that impacts all First Nations people. But, as they said in the press release, it impacts all Canadians.
- Canadian government action has been woefully inadequate.
- It is the greatest suffering to lose a child.
- Jocelyn Iahtail was brutally raped when she was five months pregnant. She lost the baby.
- Canada is taking action over the kidnapping of African girls. But we fail to respond to the suffering of our missing and murdered girls and women.
- Why is this government failing to call a national inquiry?
- In fact, the Harper government was criticized by the United Nations Human Rights Commission for its failure to respond to the crisis. The commission said it was concerned with the disproportionate number of indigenous women and girls affected by life threatening violence, murders, and disappearances.
- David Charette 20-year-old sister was tossed off a high building last year. The murder is still unsolved. There's people dying, you know? It's not fair. Human rights play an important role in the inquiry.
- Indigenous women and girls have basic human rights. The right to safety and the right to the same quality of life as everybody else in Canada. The issue of violence against aboriginal women and girls is a systemic one with deep roots in sexism, poverty, and racism.
- These have contributed to a lack of safety and a lack of police response. Decades of government policy have impoverished and broken apart indigenous families and communities, leaving indigenous women and girls at a heighten the risk of exploitation and attack.
- These women and girls are being stolen from our families, from our communities, and it is time that somebody is taking this seriously.
- A lack of basic government services has pushed many of these women into precarious situations, ranging from inadequate housing, to work in the sex trafficking trade. These inequalities make it difficult for many indigenous women to access services where they may seek help and escape violence.
- Amnesty International writes that Violence Against indigenous women and girls may be motivated by racism. Society's indifference to the welfare and safety of these women allows perpetrators to escape justice.
- The result is that violent acts are seen as normal and inevitable, rather than serious and criminal. These murdered and missing indigenous women and girls are people's sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and friends. Their unsolved cases leave a void in their families lives.
- They have also been forgotten by society. To address the issue, one must understand the history and impact of colonization on aboriginal peoples in Canada. There has been a cycle of trauma and abuse brought on by residential schools, and by the '60s Scoop, where large numbers of aboriginal children were forcibly taken into the child welfare system.
- It was a practice that has left inter-generational scars and culture loss. With these words of apology and regret, I hope that all Canadians will join me in recognizing this historic injustice.
- The program has been dubbed the '60s Scoop. It's believed as many as 20,000 aboriginal children were removed from their homes. They suffered emotional trauma, loss of culture, and in some cases, they were abused.
- Government and church have interfered with First Nations traditional practices for over 500 years. Early colonial writings describe aboriginal women as squaws, and portrayed them as uncivilized, lewd, and sexually deviant.
- My grandmother says that at next year's festival, we'll be old enough to choose husbands, just like the older girls.
- Films have often stereotypically portrayed First Nations women as Indian princesses clothed provocatively, rather than in their typical traditional dress. Portraying First Nations women as sexual objects contributed to attitudes that lead to rape, violence, and murder.
- Europeans brought a patriarchal society to Canada, which conflicted with the traditional roles and power of aboriginal women. Indigenous societies were based on mutual respect and complementary strengths, and often had a matrilineal structure.
- The imposition of patriarchy has diminished the power and status of indigenous women. Cultural differences in sexual behavior led to depictions of aboriginal women as sexually deviant. And Indian agents under Canada's Indian Act perpetuated these myths.
- Canadian society today still tends to dismiss violence against aboriginal women and girls on the basis of these perceived deviances. During the residential school era, children were forcibly removed from their homes for the purpose of assimilation.
- Generations of girls were unable to learn from their mothers and grandmothers, and the emotional bond was loosened. This disconnection seriously impacted future generations. These practices disrupted the roles, values, and traditions of the family.
- Numerous governments passed legislation, such as the Gradual Civilization Act in 1857, and the Indian Act in 1876, entrenched sex based discrimination against First Nations women. Indian status was defined solely on the basis of the male head of the household.
- Aboriginal women, who traditionally held a very important position and role, now lost their identity and their ability to make decisions. The legislation was a major affront to women's autonomy.
- More recently, it is well documented that aboriginal people are among Canada's poorest. Over 40% of aboriginal women live in poverty, double the percentage of non aboriginal women.
- There's a lack of housing, a lack of clean water, a lack of schools in many of our communities. And so, yes, our women are at risk. But they were born at risk. This is not something they chose. They were not young girls thinking, I want to grow up and one day become homeless.
- Nobody has those kinds of thoughts when they're young. Our women are born into what have been compared to third world conditions in many of our communities. And that's what's creating the vulnerability.
- This breed low self esteem, anger, depression, doubt and shame. Many women are often forced to leave their homes and children to find employment or pursue education. In doing so, they leave behind their culture, and they struggle to fit into a non operational environment.
- But, you know, what this is really doing, it's opening up, it's a new beginning. Because with this public awareness, we really hope that we can get counseling one day, and programs will be put in place to help bring back all the adults who are still missing, that are still out there. And haven't even met their families yet.
- In moving forward, it is hopeful that a national inquiry will lead to justice and healing for the families involved. Their voices need a chance to be heard. The inquiry is the first step toward addressing this tragedy of violence, racism, and discrimination.