The Need for a National Public Inquiry on Canada’s Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

In a panel discussion on Canada’s Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women for The Agenda, Michèle Audette – president of NWAC – provided an impassionate answer as to why Aboriginal women in Canada have been the target of violence. For us at ©Integrating Horizons, Michèle’s response captures the essence as well as the urgency for a National Public Inquiry in Canada on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. For us at

[Aboriginal women are targeted because of] discrimination, racism, being marginalized every day, extreme poverty facing in the community or urban setting, the vulnerability that got us close to the violence, addiction, homelessness, prostitution, gang involvement and abuse relationship. There are many layers that we have on our shoulders every day. And of course, when you see discrimination you have to think about the Indian Act, the policies that are discriminating us, we have to think about the loss of land, loss of language, so there are many targets towards Aboriginal people, mostly Aboriginal women. — Michèle Audette

Research shows that from 1950 to 2014 there is 883 documented cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, only 21.8 per cent of cases tracked.

— Maryanne Pearce “An Awkward Silence”, March 21st 2014

And that Aboriginal women represent only 3% of Canada’s female population. From 2000 to 2008, they represented 10% of female homicides in Canada; only 53% of murder cases involving Aboriginal women are solved.

— From the Native Women’s Association of Canada

The conditions as well as the historical legacies themselves strongly support the need for a national public inquiry, certainly in addition with other comprehensive mechanisms for renewed reconciliation and healing. The re-opening of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation is just one of many other examples of organizations that have lost their Federal Government funding and that could play a major role in addressing systemic issues.

In 2014, Indigenous peoples organizations across Canada, the United Nations, and the ongoing calls from all of Canada’s Premiers have unanimously renewed longstanding requests for a national public inquiry on the issue of Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Canada’s Federal government continue to resolutely its refuse an inquiry.

A recent document published by the NWAC however makes a case for a national public inquiry. It argues that a national public inquiry would:

– further help identify the processes as well as the policies that have maintained the current status-quo for Aboriginal communities;
– squarely address the multiple levels of government and their responsibilities;
– produce recommendations for a strategic national plan to address the violence facing Aboriginal communities;
– increase awareness of human rights violations;
– express a conciliatory commitments not only to acknowledge the historical and sociological realities but also put an end to them.

The staff at ©Integrating Horizons strongly encourage our readers to the NWAC petition along with any others to put pressure on the Federal Government of Canada regarding a national public inquiry for missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. We also strongly encourage our readers to join social justice and solidarity campaigns like the October 4th Sisters In Spirit Vigils. We will be further reviewing the developments and summarize some of the key reports that have been written on these issues.

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