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St. John’s chapter calls for inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women


Ken and Erika, St. John's chapter

 Chapter activists Ken Kavanagh and Erika Steeves.

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter supports the call for a national inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women.

In a letter to the editor published in The Telegram today, chapter activists Ken Kavanagh and Erika Steeves write, “Indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, yet they account for 16 per cent of murdered women and 11.3 per cent of missing women. In the last 30 years, 1,026 Indigenous women have been murdered and 160 are missing. Sadly, the numbers continue to increase.”

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper is wrong. These MMIW cases are both crimes and sociological phenomena. Many professional and competent commentators have stated and unequivocally asserted that the over-representation of Indigenous women as victims of violence serves as concrete evidence that the problem is systemic. We clearly need to deeply examine why this is happening and to come up with a national action plan. While Harper shuns a national inquiry, aboriginal leaders, opposition leaders, provincial leaders, civil society leaders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, many professional sociologists and criminologists, and many Canadians all support the call for one.”

They add, “We, in the St. John’s Chapter of the Council of Canadians, join in the collective call for a national inquiry and urge all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to stand with us in support.”

We ask that you follow the example of the St. John’s chapter and send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper too. A sample letter to the editor that you can personalize and send to your local newspaper is here. The families of murdered and missing Indigenous women will gather in Ottawa on February 26. Some of them will then participate in a round table meeting with provincial premiers and Indigenous organizations on February 27. We hope that letters to the editor in newspapers across the country will show them that the public stands with them.

Further reading
Support the call for an inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women (February 2015 blog)