The National Public Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ report is finally done. It comes as no surprise to Indigenous people across Canada that the report identifies the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women as a “Canadian genocide.” What else can one call it?
Over the past several decades, a disproportionate number of Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or were murdered. The number of the victims numbers in the thousands. The report says that these women have faced violence through actions and inactions that are rooted in “colonialism and colonial ideologies.”
There is no equivocation. The authors of the report are clear that it “is about deliberate race, identity and gender-based genocide.”
“The fact that First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples are still here and that the population is growing should not discount the charge of genocide,” the report says. The report also says that due to the seriousness of this issue, that the Inquiry is preparing a supplemental report on “the Canadian genocide of Indigenous peoples according to the legal definition of genocide.”
The National Inquiry found that Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be murdered or to go missing than any other demographic in Canada. It also found that Indigenous women are 16 times more likely to be killed or to disappear than white women.
Significantly, the report highlights the systematic stonewalling, and failure to cooperate by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s national police force. The National Inquiry requested, through three subpoenas, nearly 300 case files, but only received 107. The RCMP is responsible for providing police services to approximately 40 percent of Canada’s Indigenous population, and 39 percent of the unsolved cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls fall within the RCMP’s jurisdiction.
The final report enumerates 231 “Calls for Justice” or steps that need to be taken by the various levels of governments and Canadians to end this genocide. “It must be understood that these recommendations, which we frame as ‘Calls for Justice,’ are legal imperatives – they are not optional,” the report reads.
For decades, Indigenous peoples and groups have been saying there is something wrong and that our women and girls were being victimized at a disproportionately high number than anyone else. For far too long, these alarm bells fell on deaf ears, and it is imperative that this report and its “Calls for Justice” get left by the wayside.
Real action needs to happen now, for the sake of the thousands of our women who have gone missing or were murdered and for their families.