Canada | Opinion

Blog: Missing and murdered Native women spur call for inquiry





More than 800 Native women have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada:
In late February, the body of 26-year-old Saint Mary's University student Loretta Saunders was found alongside a highway in New Brunswick.

She was merely the latest in an estimated 824 murders and disappearances involving indigenous Canadian women since the 1950s. According to the Vancouver Sun, nearly 600 of these took place after 1990. The rate is startlingly disproportionate, as indigenous women make up 2% of Canada's population but account for 24.8% of missing or murdered women.

Saunders' murder galvanized activists across the nation, prompting an outpouring of support, solidarity and renewed calls for government action:

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper has remained largely passive, failing to take any significant action to remedy the problem. Meanwhile, his government has proposed sweeping "termination plans" aimed at dismantling long-standing treaties that protect indigenous sovereignty.

A history of violence. Native peoples of North America have endured centuries of physical and cultural violence throughout the development of Canada and the U.S. Thousands of indigenous children were abused, tortured and killed at Canada's "residential schools" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all in the name of assimilating them into white Canadian culture.

Get the Story:
Zak Cheney-Rice: 824 Murders and Disappearances in Canada Have Sparked a National Protest (Policy Mic 3/20)

Related Stories:
Researcher uncovers more missing or murdered Native women (3/14)
Darryl Leroux: Society continues to discard indigenous women (03/07)
Death of Native woman spurs more calls for inquiry in Canada (3/6) Report examines access to justice for Native women in Canada (3/5)