THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) are extremely disappointed in the lack of action on behalf of the Federal Government in terms of the requested inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women.
Following the arrest of accused serial killer Shawn Cameron Lamb in Winnipeg, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper, along with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and other First Nations communities and organizations, demanded that the federal government call an inquiry into the reported 60 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women in Manitoba by July 10th. That deadline has now passed.
“The lack of meaningful response from both the provincial and federal governments on the issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women is extremely disappointing and frustrating”, states Betty Kennedy, ONWA Executive Director. “This is a significant problem that exists across provinces, with an estimated 600 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women throughout Canada”.
“Statistics show that Aboriginal women are 8 times more likely to be murdered than non-Aboriginal women, and according to ONWA’s Breaking Free report, 8 out of 10 Aboriginal women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime”, Kennedy added. That report states, “It is not possible to find a First Nations or Metis woman in Ontario whose life has not been affected in some way by family violence. Either as a child witnessing spousal assault, as a child victim herself, as an adult victim of a husband or boyfriend’s violence, or as a grandmother who witnesses the physical and emotional scars of her daughter or granddaughter’s beatings: we are all victims of violent family situations and we want it to stop now. For too long this has been an everyday reality, whether we live in isolated Aboriginal communities, on an Indian reserve, in a rural area or a large urban centre in an Ontario setting”. (Breaking Free Report 1989)
“It is time for us all to stand together and demand action in order to put an end to violence against Aboriginal women and girls in this country”.
ONWA fully supports the efforts of the Manitoba Grand Chiefs to raise awareness of the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and joins them along with NWAC in their demand for a national inquiry.
“This issue needs to become a national priority so that the lives of our Aboriginal women and girls are protected and so that they may also benefit from life, liberty and security of the person, as outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, concluded Kennedy.