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Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday May 22 2015
3:07 PM EDT
2014-05-03 at 14:29

'About time' RCMP recognizes scope of missing and murdered Aboriginal women tragedy: ONWA president

By Matt Vis,

THUNDER BAY -- It’s about time the country’s national police acknowledged the scope of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, says the president of the Ontario Native Women’s Association.

Earlier this week, RCMP commissioner Bob Paulsen confirmed that there are at least 1,186 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada over the past 30 years.

Ontario Native Women’s Association president Dr. Dawn Harvard says the confirmation just reaffirms the severity of the issue and underlines that there is a significant problem.

“It’s certainly about time. We had been working at the community level for a very long time to make people in these positions aware of the situation,” Harvard said when reached by telephone on Friday.

“I can only hope that having the RCMP’s acknowledgement of the situation will give some authority, legitimacy and credibility that as ONWA we’ve been saying for years, that there isn’t the kind of attention these women deserve.”

Despite the statement from Paulsen, federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney refuted renewed calls for a national inquiry.

The continued denials for an inquiry despite mounting evidence is generating frustration and anger. Harvard said the issue is spreading beyond just an Aboriginal tragedy, but is one of national significance and is catching the attention of the entire population.

Reports in various media outlets suggested that nearly 1,000 of those have been identified as murder cases.

The continually rising number is proof to families that their loved ones were victims in cases that had been written off or dismissed.

“We knew that was just the tip of the iceberg. So many went unreported, so many were written off as suicides, so many were written of as accidents when we knew that wasn’t the story,” she said.

“We knew so many of our women were not being accounted for and their families not taken seriously. This is finally shedding light on circumstances that we in the community had known all along.”

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tired says:
Duncan...what negligence are you accusing our police of? If you have information about these investigations, ie. what was said to the officers,physical evidence or independant witnesses then maybe your opinion would hold more weight. As it stands you seem to have nothing to support your opinion other than what has been reported in this article, which from what I can see has no specific allegations, just broad strokes of the brush.
5/4/2014 2:37:23 PM
verotik says:
I am just curious what is the number of missing non aboriginal people over the past 30 years?
5/4/2014 10:16:56 AM
Duncan Debunker says:
So, a quick look at the most recent Canadian stats on this issue reveal some interesting information.

When you compare the numbers of aboriginal women who experience violence (both reported and not) to violence against non-aboriginal women, the numbers really are shocking. However, there are some very consistent risk factors in these situations. Alcohol and drug abuse, socioeconomic background and living in a area with prevailing social issues seem to be the greatest contributors.
So, when you limit the pool to just aboriginal and non-aboriginal women who fit these risk factors the difference in violence against the two groups is far less significant.

In conclusion, I DO NOT see it as a nation wide negligence by our police to investigate violence against aboriginal women. I DO see it as a nation wide negligence by our police to investigate violence against women who fit those risk factors. We as a society need to ensure we protect those how need it the most, without discrimination
5/3/2014 8:24:48 PM
tsb says:
Indeed, violence against women is a serious nationwide issue. However, the Ontario Native Women's Association primarily concerns itself with issues affecting their members.

Perhaps the Ontario Women's Association will put together a report on missing women in general.
5/4/2014 3:43:39 PM
Ringettemom says:
It is really disgusting that this happens this day and age in this country. I hope this helps things change. A lot of these cases could have been prevented if only the proper attention had been paid in the first place...lives saved and families not torn apart and changed forever.
5/3/2014 5:37:12 PM
Lpitura says:
New login? Hm.

Your "reasoning" is exactly the problem. Historically police have thought the same thing, that oh it's just a result of drinking, drugs etc etc...when that isn't the case. Many of these crimes could have been prevented, many serial rapes, murders and assaults happen because of lack of attention. You thinking otherwise proves your ignorance on yet another topic.
5/4/2014 11:19:54 PM
Girardin says:
It's disgusting that this took so long.
5/3/2014 3:08:46 PM
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