In recent decades, thousands of indigenous women and girls living in Canada have reportedly gone missing or been found dead, according to CNN. A report looking into the situation has declared that these women and girls are victims of a “Canadian genocide.”
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reportedly spoke with more than 1,400 family members and survivors and 83 knowledge-keepers, experts, and officials to compile the report entitled “Reclaiming Power and Place.”
The report details countless acts of violence towards indigenous populations through “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies.”
The over 1,200-page report was compiled by four commissioners who gathered information about potential patterns and underlying factors in the disappearances and murders, responding to calls from indigenous communities and members asking for an official investigation.
The team behind the national inquiry, which cost more than $92 million to carry out, explained their mission on their website.
“For far too long, Indigenous women and girls have been publicly devalued or ignored. People’s general perceptions have been shaped by harmful colonial stereotypes. People forget that every Indigenous woman or girl — no matter how she died or what she had been through — had an inherent strength and sacred worth.”
The report also explains how they determined that the violence against indigenous women, girls, and members of the 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual) community fit with the definition of genocide.
Deaths of indigenous women 'a Canadian genocide', leaked report says https://t.co/zOHUR5Nm2s
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 1, 2019
Following a disagreement over what constitutes genocide, the report detailed that a supplementary report will be released “on the Canadian genocide of Indigenous peoples according to the legal definition of genocide.” It went on to explain that genocide is the sum of the social practices, assumptions, and actions detailed within the report.
In addition to outlining the violence experienced by members of the community, the report also followed up with 231 recommendations on what can be done to respond to the matter.
Included in the recommendations are enacting changes in how police officials handle indigenous cases, reducing racism in the police force so there is no delay in pursuing a missing person or murder case, and elimination of “either-or” gender options, instead including a non-binary option wherever applicable.
Laureen “Blu” Waters, a relative of one of the commissioners of the report, is quoted in the document on the subject of implementing change.
“It’s got to be the government communicating with the different communities on all the issues that surround those communities,” she said. Whether it be water, whether it be land, whether it be suicides, whether it be missing persons, whether it be housing, whether it be lack of resources — the government has to start listening.”