I just read an interesting article published in the Winnipeg Free Press titled, “Now it’s time for action.”
It’s the latest from reporter Bartely Kives who explores the evolving issue of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women.
The article is a concise piece of writing that provides chronology and context for readers seeking to develop an informed opinion.
What it doesn’t do is provide insight into the real cause of violence against Canadian Indigenous women.
Nowhere in the 1,444 word piece do you find the term, “perpetrator, suspect or offender.”
That omission wasn’t lost on a WFP reader who commented;
Mr Kives replied;
I don’t find the readers conclusion, “bizarre,” at all.
If fact, it was the first thought that crossed my mind when I read the article.
How can perpetrator information be an irrelevant factor when it comes to disproportionate levels of violence against Indigenous women?
The inexplicable desire to continue to ignore perpetrator information was recently confronted by Joan Jack, an Indigenous activist and lawyer, who wrote an article published in the WFP titled, “Excuse me, there’s a moose in the room.”
“Aboriginal men kill aboriginal women and girls, rape aboriginal women and girls, beat aboriginal women and girls, and no one is really talking about the moose in our living room,” she wrote.
Yet another article by a major Winnipeg news media outlet choosing to avoid the inconvenient truth that Indigenous men kill the overwhelming majority of Indigenous women.
The Trend Continues
Calls for an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women make race an extremely important element in any reality based conversation.
If the race of the victim is relevant then the race of the perpetrator must also be relevant.
The task of assigning race to victims and perpetrators is difficult because Police don’t disclose this information. In order to determine racial origins we often rely on news reports or social media.
In 2014, a total of nine (9) women were victim’s of homicide in the City of Winnipeg. It appears seven (7) of the nine (9) victims were Indigenous women.
Three (3) of these killings remain unsolved;
- Tina Fontaine (15)
- Beatrice Crane (44)
- Angela Poorman (29)
In the four (4) solved homicides, three (3) Indigenous men and one (1) Indigenous woman stand charged.
The disturbing trend continues.
The only reference to perpetrators in the Free Press article is a paragraph that seems to suggest Aboriginal street gangs are behind the violence;
“Recognizing the role indigenous men play in violence against indigenous women, Golebioski’s unit has met with leaders of five of the seven First Nations that fall under Treaty 1 in an effort to create a consensus when it comes to condemning aboriginal gang violence in particular. The police are also trying to identify urban aboriginal leaders who will stand up against Indigenous gangs.”
I struggle with the relevance of Aboriginal street gangs and the issue of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women.
The statistics overwhelmingly suggest the greatest cause of homicide and violence against Indigenous women is domestic or family violence.
Notwithstanding that reality, many people continue to try to put a blindfold on that moose in the room and pitch a false narrative.
Kives quotes Rebecca Chartrand, an Indigenous educator, as saying, “Winnipegers, in general are infuriated by what appears to be a lack of political will supporting an inquiry, or other initiatives at a political level.”
I think Rebecca Chartrand is misreading the silent majority living within the boarders of River City.
Winnipegers, in general, are infuriated people are still advocating for an Inquiry when it’s clear a National strategy and action plan is needed.
A month or so ago I heard an Aboriginal activist on CJOB radio suggesting Indigenous women in Canada are being, “targeted.”
When confronted with perpetrator statistics the woman reverted to a defensive position stressing we shouldn’t engage in “stereotyping.”
It’s easy to see how we got here.
It turns out denial is the greatest danger facing Canadian Indigenous women today.
The abject denial of the most significant cause of violence and homicide perpetrated against Indigenous women continues to be the most significant road block to meaningful social change.
The problem is only exacerbated by a main stream media that endorses the false narrative and supports the cowardly politicians who choose to walk down the path of least resistance.
I commend Mr. Kives for trying to shine a light on the problem and inspire people to take ownership and action. It’s with respect I suggest that inspiration has to have a firm foundation built on reality.
Now is not the time for action.
Now is the time for an honest conversation.