The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.
In Canada, violence against Indigenous women and girls is a national tragedy in need of urgent attention. May 5th is the National Day of Awareness and Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people. For years, communities have raised awareness about the disproportionate number of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada. Like every day, May 5th is a time to remember the Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people who have had their lives taken by gender-based and colonial violence. Owing to Canada's colonial history, Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people endure greater rates of violence than their non-Indigenous counterparts. The Final Report of the National Inquiry (2019) highlights the fact that Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals have disproportionately higher rates of experiencing violence, marital assault, familial violence, and sexual assault.
In the last 30 years, approximately 4,000 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or have disappeared in Canada. The National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) delivered its Final Report on June 3, 2019. The Inquiry made 231 calls for justice and concluded that the acts of violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people in Canada are equivalent to “genocide.” Based on this in-depth analysis, missing Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people are frequently stigmatized or stereotyped and the concerns of their families are often ignored.
All Canadians are encouraged to participate in the MMIWG Inquiry. This involves speaking out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people, as well as recognizing and supporting the unique histories, traditions, and populations of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
There are many ways that individuals, families, communities, and organizations can get involved and honour Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. For example, there are a variety of resources available that shed light on the ways you can take action and learn more about what is being done. Some of these resources include:
- The MMIWG Information Hub on the KAIROS website is dedicated to delivering information and resources about Canada's National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
- The Honouring Indigenous Women Toolkit developed by Native Women’s Association of Canada is an educational resource to assist Indigenous communities in healing and restoring honour and respect for Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals.
- The You Are Not Alone: A Toolkit for Aboriginal Women Escaping Domestic Violence developed by Native Women’s Association of Canada offers resources for community safety planning to address domestic violence for Indigenous women.
- Resources and activities by Sisters in Spirit (SIS) that promote reconciliation, guide healing, raise awareness, and end marginalization.
- Jaime Black, a Métis artist, launched the REDress Project to bring attention to the gendered and politicized nature of violent crimes against Indigenous women in Canada.
- The reports on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Calls to Justice laid out in the Final Report.
- Amnesty International’s report on the 16 things Canada can do to end violence against Indigenous women and girls.
- It Starts With Us database and report on ways to honour the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans, and Two-Spirits.
- Canadian Women’s Foundation’s facts about gender-based violence.
- White Ribbon’s calls to all men and boys to support Survivors and prevent all forms of violence.
- The Ally Bill of Responsibilities highlights various ways of becoming a responsible ally.
As a settler organization, the COH continues to offer our solidarity and support for all Indigenous Peoples and communities. The COH is committed to learning more about ways to engage with communities through a culturally appropriate, gender-based analysis and ways to eradicate structural violence that affects Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse people, and their families and communities. The COH recognizes the importance of enhancing and promoting the political, cultural, social, and economic well-being of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse peoples in Canada.