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Their spirits live within us

 Victoria Street Newz (Canada) 19 May 2019

(Originally published: 02/2010) The February 14th Women’s Memorial March is held to honour the lives of women who die each year due to violence, and to remember the women who are still missing. Victoria Street Newz looks into the horrifying fate which meets so many of Canada’s First Nations women, and what the Canadian government could be doing to put and end to the violence and murder. (929 words) - Rose Henry

Victoria Street Newz

Courtesy of Victoria Street Newz

The February 14th Women's Memorial March is held to honour the lives of women who die each year due to violence, and to remember the women who are still missing.


It is POVERTY that underlies violence against First Nations (FN) [Aboriginal peoples of Canada] women carried out by both First Nations and non-Indigenous people.


"The only time anybody has the right to look down on somebody else is when they are helping them to get up."  Darcy K.


Deep inequalities in living conditions and access to government services have pushed many FN women into situations, ranging from overcrowded housing to prostitution, where there is a greatly heightened risk of violence. The same inequalities have also denied many FN women access to the services and support, such as bus services, public payphones emergency shelters, needed to escape violence.


First Nations women in Canada experience high levels of violence.  One government survey found that young First Nations women were five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.  FN women themselves have taken the lead in breaking the silence that for so long surrounded the violence inflicted on them.



Profiles of violence and discrimination against Indigenous women in Canada


Amnesty International's research has focused on one often overlooked dimension of Indigenous women's experience of violence: the violence that takes place in urban settings or the lives of women moving between reserves and urban settings.


This violence can be stopped. But only if Canadian officials take concerted action to protect the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls.


According to a Canadian government statistic, young Indigenous women are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.


The pattern looks like this:


*  Racist and sexist stereotypes deny the dignity and worth of Indigenous women, encouraging some men to feel they can get away with acts of hatred against them.


*  Decades of government policy have impoverished and broken apart Indigenous families and communities, leaving many Indigenous women and girls extremely vulnerable to exploitation and attack.


*  Many police forces have failed to institute necessary measures - such as training, protocols and accountability mechanisms - to ensure that officers understand and respect the Indigenous communities they serve. Without such measures, police too often fail to do all they can to ensure the safety of Indigenous women and girls whose lives are in danger.


No excuse for government inaction


There is no excuse for government inaction. In fact, many of the steps needed to ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous women have already been identified by government inquiries.


All levels of government should work closely with Indigenous women's organizations to develop a comprehensive and coordinated program of action to stop violence against Indigenous women. Immediate action should be taken to implement a number of long overdue reforms, including:


*  Institute measures to ensure that police thoroughly investigate all reports of missing women and girls


*  Provide adequate, stable funding to the front-line organizations that provide culturally-appropriate services such as shelter, support and counseling to help Indigenous women and girls escape from harm's way.



Hychka Siem[thank you]  for showing your support for our still missing women and for the spirits of our women no longer with us …. (partial list) …


Alberta Williams

Marie Laliberte

Morenda Isaac

Helen Lessard

Sarah De Vries

Lillian Jean O'Dare - September 1978

Wendy Louise Allen - March 1979

Rebecca Guno - June 1983

Sherry Rail - January 1984

Yvonne Marlene Abigosis - January 1984

Linda Louise Grant - October 1984

Sheryl Donahue - May 1985

Leigh Miner - December 1993

Laura Mah - August 1985

Teressa Williams - July 1988

Ingrid Soet - August 1989

Nancy Clark - August 1991

Mary Lands - 1991

Kathleen Wattley - June 1992

Elsie Sebastien - October 1992

Gloria Fedyshyn - January 1993

Sherry Baker - 1993

Teresa Louis Triff - April 1993

Angela Arseneault - August 1994

Catherine Gonzalez - March 1995

Catherine Knight - April 1995

Dorothy Spence - August 1995

Diana Melnick - December 1995

Tanya Holyk - October 1996 *

Olivia Williams - December 1996

Frances Young - April 1996

Stephanie Lane - January 1997

Sharon Ward - February 1997

Cara Ellis - 1997

Maria Laura Laliberte - January 1997

"Kellie" (Richard) Little - April 1997

Helen Hallmark - August 1997 *

Janet Henry - June 1997

Marnie Frey - August 1997

Jacqueline Murdock - August 1997

Cindy Beck - September 1997

Andrea Borhaven - sometime in 1997

Sherry Irving - April 1997 *

Cindy Feliks - November 1997

Kerry Koski - January 1998

Inga Hall - February 1998 *

Sarah deVries - April 1998

Elaine Dumba - Apri 1998

Sheila Egan - July 1998

Julie Young - October 1998

Angela Jardine - November 1998

Marcella Creison - December 1998

Michelle Gurney - December 1998

Ruby Anne Hardy - 1998

Tania Petersen - 1998

Tammy Fairbairn - 1998

Jacqueline McDonell - January 1999 *

Georgina Papin - March 1999 *

Brenda Wolfe - February 1999 *

Wendy Crawford - November 1999

Jennifer Furminger - December 1999 *

Tiffany Louise Drew - December 1999

Dawn Crey - November 2000

Debra Jones - December 2000

Sharon Abraham - 2000

Patricia Johnson - March 2001 *

Yvonne Marie Boen - March 2001

Heather Bottomley - April 2001 *

Heather Chinnock - April 2001 *

Angela Josebury - June 2001 *

Sereena Abotsway - August 2001 *

Diane Rock - October 2001 *

Mona Wilson - November 2001 *


Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder

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