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CALLS FOR NATIONAL INQUIRY BUILT ON WEAK FOUNDATION – RCMP Report Stats Misinterpreted by Manitoba Aboriginal Leadership

RCMP OIC KEVIN BROSSEAU (PHOTO JGJ)
RCMP OIC KEVIN BROSSEAU (PHOTO JGJ)

It seems the Aboriginal Leadership in Manitoba wants to build a case for a National Inquiry into the Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women issue on an extremely weak foundation.

On Monday, June 2, 2014, I attended the RCMP “D” Division news conference to hear details regarding Project Devote’s arrest of Traigo Ehkid Andretti (38).  Andretti was charged with 2nd degree murder in connection with the death of Myrna Letandre, an Aboriginal woman reported missing in 2006.

Letandre happened to be one of the Aboriginal women whose case was included in the RCMP National Operational Overview report recently disclosed to the public.

Letandre’s murder was the first case solved by investigators assigned to Manitoba’s Project Devote.

The arrest will surely bring a degree of closure to the Letandre family and should bring some level of comfort to the Aboriginal Community.

Or maybe not.

pic-grandchief
GRAND CHIEF DAVID HARPER (MKO WEBSITE)

I was more than just a little perplexed when I heard Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper renew calls for a National Inquiry based on what appeared to be a clear misunderstanding or worse, a clear misrepresentation of the known facts.

“Where else in the world are there over 1,000 women missing? We heard about the missing girls in Africa and there was a public cry on it. Here we have over 1,000 and still no call for a national inquiry,” Harper said in a press interview.

Harper’s comparison of missing Aboriginal women to the 276 school girls kidnapped by heavily armed Islamic radicals in Nigeria on April 14th of this year is one thing, his misinterpretation of the facts is another.

I wondered, did Mr Harper even read the report?

The statistics contained in the RCMP report are clear;

Police recorded incidents of Aboriginal female homicides and unresolved missing Aboriginal females in the review total 1,181 – 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims.

The Missing Persons Data;

  • 6,420 – Total Missing Persons
  • 1,455 – Total Missing Females
  • 164 – Total Missing Aboriginal Females
  • Of the 164 missing Aboriginal Females 105 are listed as “unknown or foul play suspected” while 59 are listed as non-suspicious circumstances

Harper’s misrepresentation of the facts were echoed in media accounts by Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs representative Dennis White Bird, who said, “I’m frustrated because there’s 1,100 women that are out there of First Nation descent … and very little is happening.”

After hearing Mr Harper on the radio and reading Mr White Bird’s comments I wondered why no one in mainstream media called them out for their glaring misrepresentation of the reported facts.

The truth is, as the RCMP report suggests, thousands of people are missing in Canada on any given day.  The whereabouts of most are established quickly.  The total number of missing Aboriginal women was based on reports of all women listed as missing for more than thirty (30) days across all Police jurisdictions on the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) system as of November 4, 2013.

That total number of missing Aboriginal women is currently reported at 105 cases, a far cry from the 1,000 or so suggested by Mr Haper and Mr White Bird.

Shouldn’t we at least try to keep the conversation real?

One of the most significant factors revealed in the RCMP report continues to be ignored by those who call for an independent inquiry.

The Perpetrators;

Aside from causation or risk factors, it seems perpetrator information should be considered a highly relevant topic in the conversation.  It would be logical to conclude that to stop or reduce the killings we have to identify and understand the people who form the suspect pool.

So who are the killers?

The RCMP report provides much-needed clarity;

Perpetrators of Aboriginal Female Homicide;

  • 89% – male
  • 35 years – average age of perpetrator
  • 71% – likely to have a criminal record
  • 62% – likely to have history of family violence with victim
  • 53% – likely to have been convicted of a violent offence
  • 44% – likely to have consumed intoxicants prior to incident
  • 26% – employment rate
  • 24% – likely to use social assistance

Offender to Victim Relationship (1980 -2012)

  • 29% – Spousal
  • 23% – Other Family
  • 10% – Other Intimate Relationship
  • 30% – Other Acquaintance
  • 8% – Stranger
  • 1% – Unknown

The RCMP report concludes that 90% of all Aboriginal female victims of Homicide knew their killer.

Murdered 1980 -2012

The following statistics are contained in the RCMP report;

  • 20,313 – Total number of homicide victims
  • 6,551 – Total number of female victims
  • 5,439 – Total number of Non-Aboriginal Female (83%)
  • 1,017 – Total number of Aboriginal Female (16%)
  • 95 – Unknown Racial Origin (1%)

The RCMP report indicates Aboriginal Women represent only 4.3% of the Canadian female population yet represent 16% of the total number of all female homicides in Canada.  The data suggests Aboriginal Women are grossly overrepresented in these tragic numbers.

The questions that need to be asked are;

Do we need a National Inquiry to recognize that Domestic and Family Violence are significant causes of our National tragedy?

Do we need a National Inquiry to recognize that family dysfunction, substance abuse, addiction, unemployment and poverty are all significant causes of our National tragedy?

I can tell you a few things we don’t need.

We don’t need anymore misrepresentation, finger-pointing or participation in the blame game.

Our ability to develop effective strategies to deal with our National tragedy is only limited by the level of our commitment, desire and ability to innovate.

I’m still not sure where that leadership is going to come from!

RELATED LINKS:

SUN NEWS – Project Devote Leads to Arrest in Murdered Aboriginal Woman Case”

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10 Comments

  1. Glad you noticed.

  2. You deflected from the issue of a National Enquiry, by trying to make the man look bad (his 6 figure salary, people living in squalor). Why? Because how dare he ask questions about police units.

    If you have nothing to hide, don’t sweat it.

  3. We don’t even need a national inquiry, they should just ask you. You seem to have all the answers and facts.

  4. I didn’t realize that we were comparing police officers with Aboriginal “leaders”. What’s the deflection? The fact that Chiefs make six figure salaries, tax free with little to no oversight, they are “voted” in questionably to say the least and their “people” living under them reside in squalid conditions?

    That’s a deflection…how again?

    Special interest groups have no place in police investigations.

  5. Yeah that’s it. I just didn’t get the point. It must be my fault. It’s ALWAYS someone elses fault. It could NEVER be a cops fault.

    Lets not pretend that you and I haven’t had a lengthy discussion on this topic for the last 2 weeks James.

    The RCMP’s report doesn’t tell the whole truth. DOES IT? What it doesn’t show is the race of the perpetrators (how often are the perpetrators non-Aboriginal), or how often police officers have sexually assaulted or assaulted Aboriginal women (we know they’re in the thousands). It doesn’t show the ratio of missing & murdered Aboriginal women against the total number of Aboriginal female population. What good is it showing the ratio of Abgl/women against non-Abgl/women, except to make the
    numbers appear lower? Why did the RCMP report stop at 1980? You guys purge your files? Why are the stats for all of Canada? Why isn’t it reported by police jurisdiction? How can anyone pinpoint problems when police are fudging the reports in their favor?

    A National Inquiry will show a systemic pattern of police abuses across this country, on the majority of vulnerable persons (police abuse of power is an equal opportunity crime), not just against Aboriginals. This isn’t just about the murdered and missing women. With your own words James, you said Aboriginals are overrepresented (I’m certain the numbers are much higher). WHY?

    As long as police keep blaming the victims for what happened, I’ll continue to shine a light in their direction.

  6. James G Jewell

    Shirley seems to have missed the whole point of my story….

    “Do we need a National Inquiry?”

    Yes you reply, “To determine why Aboriginal females are grossly over represented in the numbers.”

    Lets see, we know the causation factors, we know who the offenders are and we know 90% of Aboriginal women are killed by someone they know i.e.: Spouse, Family, Intimate Relationship or Acquaintance.

    What exactly is left to find out?

    The hard truths and data are out in plain view for all to see. There’s nothing to hide except the truth.

    When something isn’t working in my life the first place I look is in the mirror.

    The blame game hasn’t been working so well.

    Just my opinion!

  7. “quoted as wanting Aboriginal input into the investigations of the unit.”

    SO!

    His 6 figure salary is no different than the 6 figure salary a police officer collects.

    Nice try at deflection.

  8. Spare me. Mainstream media is all for seeing Aboriginals get what they need, a real inquiry, with all of the facts up front.

    James? Light of my life? “The data suggests Aboriginal women are grossly overrepresented in these tragic numbers.”… “Do we need a National Inquiry?” Yes. To determine why Aboriginals are “grossly overrepresented” in these numbers.

    If statistics had been collected according to police jurisdiction, the race of the perpertrators collected, and had dated back to, lets say the 1960’s, the report would’ve shown something completely different.

    In order for things to change, someone or something is to blame. I don’t know why the police are being so sensitive about this issue if you have nothing to hide.

    “Our ability to develop effective strategies…is only limited by…desire and ability to innovate.” You mean, simply, move on folks, “nothing to see here.”

  9. James G Jewell

    It’s not that I forgot to mention it….

    Its more like pick your battles…

    I thought the misrepresentation was so outrageous the story didn’t need to go any further..

    I’m surprised how little attention this situation has received from main stream media.

  10. James, you forgot that he was quoted as wanting Aboriginal input into the investigations of the unit.

    It really makes me wonder where these so called leaders get off demanding they get some sort of extra special treatment. But then, it’s clear it’s not about doing anything meaningful, it’s all about demand for more money to pad their own six figure salaries as their people live in squalor.

    How utterly pathetic.

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