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Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada
There are numerous problematic occurrences globally and it is difficult to attempt to solve them all to make the world a better and healthier place. One major issue that is happening right in Canada, which is not very well known to society, is the cases of the missing and murdered aboriginal women. When any person goes missing or is murdered it is a heartbreaking and devastating issue, but what people do not know is how many, and how often aboriginal women go missing and are murdered. For many years the aboriginals have been fighting to make this issue known to the media and to people living in Canada so that they can get justice for their missing friends and family. Canada is a country known for its cultural diversity and caring for its many cultures and yet, the government continues to overlook the issue of the missing and murdered indigenous women. The truth is that Canada places more cultural significance on Caucasian victims, resulting in the oppression of other cultures. This is displayed with the nation’s continuation in overlooking the crises of missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Crime rates in Canada have fallen over the past couple years, but women still have a higher risk of involuntary crime involvement such as assault (Canadian Women, n.d). 85% of violence that has been police reported has been against women (Canadian Women, n.d). Although all women are at risk for these types of issues, aboriginal women are 3.5 times more likely to be victims of violence compared to non-aboriginal women (Canadian Women, n.d). It is estimated that 60% of women that have gone missing or are murdered in Canada since the 1980’s are aboriginals (Kaur, 2014). Most of the cases of these missing indigenous women still remain unsolved to this day (Kaur, 2014). Maracle, who is the executive director of Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres stated that, “Successive governments demanded evidence. They now have plenty. By Maracle’s count, more than 700 documents now back up what native women have said for 30 years” (Goar, 2014).
What is the Issue?
The issue is that people in society do not realize the higher risk that indigenous women have compared to others because people simply do not pay attention to those types of cultures. When there is a Caucasian woman or child that goes missing their face is all over the news, everyone wants to know what is going on with that person. People want to know where they are, who has them, all the basic questions because of their curiosity. Take the case of Tori Stafford for instance, Tori was a young girl that went missing from Woodstock Ontario. Tori’s story was on the news every single day until authorities were able to pinpoint what happened to the girl. Although this was a horrible occurrence to happen in Canada, when an aboriginal women or child goes missing, barely anyone in Canada hears about it; their appearance is not all over the news, and the media does not attempt to make the issue known to society. This is why the aboriginal minority deal with oppression, because of the dominant Caucasian population in society. This is not to say that when any women goes missing or is murdered in Canada that it is not a horrible issue; it is just that people in society do not realize the statistics behind people that are most vulnerable to this occurrence that is happening.
Multiple Cases on Oppression
The aboriginal women in Canada are facing multiple types of oppression considering their cases of missing and murdered women in their communities. Oppression means the exercise of tyranny by a ruling group (Young, 2004). The indigenous women are facing marginalisation, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. “Marginalisation is the act of relegating or confining a group of people to a lower social standing or outer limit or edge of society,” (Young, 2004). The indigenous people are constantly deemed as lower compared to the Caucasian population, which has been an issue since Canada was colonialized by Britain and the indigenous peoples land was completely taken over as they were forced into Caucasian ways. The aboriginals also face powerlessness in a sense that they have tried for many years to bring attention to the issue of the missing and murdered indigenous women and continue to come up empty handed. The dominating culture with power is the Caucasian society. The indigenous groups have dealt with cultural imperialism right from the moment that Canada became colonized. When Canada was colonized, Britain’s religion and way of life was forced upon the indigenous groups that originally lived there. The Caucasian population have forced their cultural norms on the oppressed cultures since the colonization of Canada This still occurs to this day. The last type of oppression, violence, is the type that aboriginal people deal with the most in society. This is because the indigenous people have the highest rates of being victims of violence in Canada compared to other cultures, specifically the cases of the missing and murdered aboriginal women. Since the indigenous women are more likely to face violence than Caucasian victims, they are facing violence directed at one group which is considered to be oppression towards them (Young, 2004).
By exploring the cases of the missing and murdered aboriginal women, it is clear that the issue is still in effect and has been for numerous years. This major crisis is continuously shut down by the government of Canada concluding in indigenous women continuing to be victims of this. This is because our society is dominated by the Caucasian population which deems other cultures as unimportant. Although not all issues can be solved entirely, the government could provide a more stable support system towards the indigenous culture and stress the importance of racial and cultural equality as to gain equalized media attention nationwide. If our society was viewed as one dominating culture then equality could be spread among all cultures living within Canada.
Further Reading and Works Cited
Kaur, J. (n.d.). Hundreds demand justice for missing and murdered indigenous women. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2014/10/hundreds-demand-justice-for-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women/
Young, I. (2004). Oppression, Privilege, and Resistance. In Five faces of Oppression. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Goar, C. (2014, October 21). Aboriginal women launch their own anti-violence campaign: Goar | Toronto Star. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/10/21/aboriginal_women_launch_their_own_antiviolence_campaign_goar.html
The Facts About Violence Against Women. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-violence
Rubinstein, D. (n.d.). Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.ammsa.com/content/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls
Hutchins, H. (n.d.). Section 2: Risk factors for violence against women. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11766/11766-2-eng.htm