Petitioning First Nations and Government of Canada

For a Gender-Inclusive Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Canadians

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We, the undersigned, call for a gender-inclusive inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal Canadians, and the crisis of violence that afflicts Aboriginal communities nationwide.

The issue of murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls is a matter of the highest national urgency. It should be a focal point of any inquiry. We applaud the efforts of women activists, especially in Aboriginal communities, to press this issue in the face of considerable resistance from the dominant society, and to establish it as a prominent social and political concern.

In our view, though, it is unacceptable to limit an inquiry or investigation of murdered and missing Aboriginals to Native women and girls alone. Men and boys account for over 70 percent of total Aboriginal murder victims in Canada. We cannot state with certainty what proportion of missing Aboriginal Canadians they compose, as the RCMP refuses to share the relevant data. Nonetheless, it is highly likely that the proportion of men and boys among missing Aboriginals is comparable to their overrepresentation in homicide (and suicide) statistics.

We protest the arbitrary exclusion of the majority of Aboriginal murder victims, and at least a substantial proportion of the missing, from the universe of ethical and political concern. We call for a rigorously gender-inclusive inquiry into the issue of murdered and missing Aboriginal Canadians, and into broader patterns of violence within and against Aboriginal communities, including structural violence and the legacy of Canada’s dispossession of Native peoples, domestic and partner violence, child abuse (including in the residential school system), suicide, homelessness, and addiction issues. Any such inquiry must respond above all to the wishes, perspectives, and priorities of Aboriginal communities, families, and citizens. It should also be sensitive to factors and variables beyond indigeneity and gender, and the intersections among them.

Aboriginal signatories to this petition call for reconsideration and broadening of the limited, gender-exclusive campaign for an inquiry into murdered and missing Native Canadians. Those from the dominant society and abroad express their solidarity with First Nations peoples, and call for the generalized crisis of violence against them to be placed at the forefront of the national agenda.

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SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION:

Lenard Monkman, "Indigenous Boys and Men at High Risk of Being Victims of Violence", CBC.ca, 29 November 2015.

"Homicide Rate 6 Times Higher for Aboriginal Canadians: StatsCan", CTVNews.ca, 25 November 2015. "The data ... showed that aboriginal males were in the greatest risk group: They were seven times more likely to be homicide victims -- compared with non-aboriginal males -- and three times more likely [to be murdered] than aboriginal females."

"Are We Ignoring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men?", CBC Unreserved, 25 October 2015.

Adam Jones, "Aboriginal Men are Murdered and Missing ...", National Post, 27 April 2015.

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ENDORSEMENTS:

"I feel very happy that you asked me to be the first person to sign the petition. I am First Nations, and I know the Creator is working through good people like yourself to help with Aboriginal issues. I signed the petition, and with family members will light the sweetgrass and smudge, so that the petition will be signed by many people and will be heard by our government." - Amanda Grace Heavy Runner, Blackfoot - Blood Tribe Reserve

"I support this initiative wholeheartedly. The focus needs to be broadened to examining the entirety of the issue of violent victimization of Indigenous peoples in Canada." - Janine Cunningham, Tsilhqot'in Nation

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MEDIA COVERAGE:

Jennifer Feinberg, "Call from Chilliwack for Expanded MMIW Inquiry to Add Men and Boys", The Chilliwack Progress, October 19, 2016.

Betsy Trumpener, "Renewed Calls for MMIW Inquiry to Include Missing Men, 7 Months after B.C. Boy Vanishes", CBC News, October 13, 2016.

"Push to Include Men in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Inquiry", CTV Vancouver, October 8, 2016. (With a report by Shannon Paterson.)

Grace Heavy Runner, "Colton Crowshoe's Murder Remains Unsolved: Case Reflects Under-reported Issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Men and Boys", The Calgary Journal, July 29, 2016.

"Missing Women's Inquiry Should Include Aboriginal Men, Says Ernie Crey", CBC, January 22, 2016.

Douglas Todd, "Support Grows for Adding Men and Boys to Murdered Aboriginal Women Inquiry", The Vancouver Sun (front page), January 21, 2016.

Dali Carmichael, "Advocates Call for Gender-Neutral Inquiry into Missing, Murdered Indigenous People", Northern Journal, 23 November 23 2015.

Douglas Todd, "UBC Prof Seeks Inquiry Into Murdered Aboriginal Men", The Vancouver Sun (online), 19 November 2015.

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