500 Aboriginal Women Missing or Murdered

Some 500 Aboriginal women have been disappeared/murdered over the past three decades in Canada. In support of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), NAWL and others urge Minister Anne McLellan to fund research and education related to violence against Aboriginal women.

March 8, 2005

The Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Minister’s Office (613) 991-2924
Ministry Fax Number (613) 990-9077

Dear Anne McLellan:

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we are writing to urge you to immediately facilitate the establishment a $10 million fund for research and education related to violence against Aboriginal women. As Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, we are certain that you can appreciate the importance of affirming the value of the lives of the some 500 Aboriginal women who have been disappeared/murdered over the past three decades.

For almost a year now, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has led the campaign to establish the Sisters in Spirit Fund. While there has been some indication of support from the federal government and Parliamentarians, nonetheless, funds have not been forthcoming despite promises to the contrary.

The systemic killing of indigenous women in Canada, particularly those who are young and impoverished, has been well-documented by a recent Amnesty International report. With this knowledge, it is now the responsibility of the federal government to honour their commitment to Aboriginal women’s organizations who are working to end the violence through the Sisters in Spirit campaign.

As allied women’s/human rights organizations, we are respectfully asking that you, in your capacity as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, assume the federal government’s responsibilities towards the Native Women’s Association of Canada with respect to the requested $10 million so that they can:

• conduct research to document the number of and circumstances around Aboriginal women missing or killed in Canada;
• do public education work regarding the underlying causes of violence against Aboriginal women;
• offer educational workshops on missing women and their families; and
• establish a hotline and registry to report disappearances and register statistics

We look forward to your quick action regarding this matter so the security and safety of all Aboriginal women in Canada can be realized.

Sincerely,

Andrée Côté
Director of Legislation and Law Reform
National Association of Women and the Law

Cc:

The Right Hon. Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada
The Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Finance
The Hon. Andy Scott, Minister of Northern and Indian Affairs
The Hon. Liza Frulla, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women