You can see the movement happening all over Canada.
In the Yukon, the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate Marian C. Horne said, “Reducing the incidence of violence against Aboriginal women continues to be a priority for the Yukon government.”
Horne backed that up with $190,000 from The Prevention of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund for projects in her territory. The projects range from better support programs and events. They are designed by Aboriginal women, along with their communities. They look at getting information out to women, preventing violence, support, how to deal with the cycle of violence and types of abuse, stress and anger management for both sexes, family support, setting up helplines and websites, creating public awareness and education about missing and murdered women and even include self-defense workshops.
A new book has come out called “Torn From Our Midst.” It’s the result of a conference called Missing Women: Decolonization, Third World Feminism, and Indigenous People of Canada and Mexico that happened in Regina two years ago. About 300 people attended and many shared their stories and viewpoints. While it includes the views of academics, policymakers, social workers, church leaders and Elders, there are many personal stories of families who have lost loved ones.
One of the editors, Luther College professor Brenda Anderson said, “It’s a matter of hearts as well as minds.” She hopes the book will raise awareness and will be a call to action. She said the title of the book is to show these women who disappear didn’t go willingly. Interested readers can order the book from the University of Regina bookstore (www.uregina.ca/bookstore/index.shtml).
In Ontario, Attorney General Chris Bentley was at the Thunder Bay Native Friendship Centre where he announced two Aboriginal support grants. One was for the Native Women’s Association of Ontario to the tune of $150,000 and $81,750 for Shkoday Abinojiiwak Obimiwedoon. Bentley said, “We recognize the need for victim services to be tailored and delivered by Aboriginal people.” In Ontario, the Aboriginal Victims Support Grant Program has given out $2 million to 19 Aboriginal organizations this year.
In Montreal you can join Sisters In Spirit at Cabot Square on Oct. 4 from 6pm – 9pm for a gathering of people who wish to keep this issue active. There will be many people at this event who have lost loved ones and are trying to do something about it.
Among them is Sue Martin. She is the mother of victim Terrie Ann Dauphinais, a Cree woman. This 24-year-old mother of three was found dead on April 29, 2002 in Calgary. Martin will be selling beef jerky under the name of Terry’s Bites. She is selling the jerky so she can finally bury her daughter.
Stories such as this are all too common and more can be found at www.missingnativewomen.org
Other Montreal events can be seen on Irkar Beljaar’s Facebook page.
In the end, if we do not support these events and insist on action by police and governments then alarmingly high rates of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada will continue to grow. Join the movement and add your voice to our growing numbers of concerned citizens.