500 Aboriginal Women Missing in CanadaMonday, July 26 2010
Over the past 20 years, approximately 500 Aboriginal women have gone missing in communities across Canada. Yet government, the media, and Canadian society continue to remain silent.
In Vancouver, more than 50 women went missing in that city's Downtown Eastside. Sixty percent were Aboriginal, and most were young. These were poor women involved in the sex trade. They struggled with drugs and alcohol. Some suffered from the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and many were victims of childhood sexual abuse. Every one of them grew up in a foster home. In other words, their lives bore all of the markings of the violence of colonization.
But these women also had families, hopes, dreams. They left behind grieving communities - grandmothers, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, and sadly, young children of their own. These young women had belonged somewhere and were loved. The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) has been gathering the names and stories of Aboriginal women who have disappeared - not just in Vancouver, but also in Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Kenora, Thunder Bay, Fredericton, and so many other communities, large and small, across this country. The story is the same: In Canada, Aboriginal women continue to be targets of hatred and violence based on their gender and their race. They continue to be objectified, disrespected, dishonoured, ignored and killed, often with impunity.
Sisters in Spirit is a campaign to right this deeply rooted wrong and to bring honour and respect back to our Sisters in Spirit who have gone missing and been brutally murdered. Now is the time to take concrete steps to ensure that the lives of Aboriginal women in Canada are no longer treated as disposable. Join the spirit of our sisters, and take action today!