Since 1991 on Valentine’s Day women in Vancouver have marched in honour of missing and murdered women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This year Montreal organizers will hold the sixth edition of the memorial march, which focuses on honouring the memories of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
The gathering will start at Cabot Square, a place organizers from Justice for Missing and Murdered Native Women (Missing Justice) and Femmes autochtones du Québec note is familiar to many of this city’s homeless, the majority of whom are aboriginal (unfortunately it’s currently being renovated and gentrified in what I consider an attempt to push the homeless out of the area).
Stephen Harper’s Conservative government dismisses calls for a national public inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls even though the RCMP reports between 1980 and 2012 there were 1,017 aboriginal female victims of homicide in Canada, and their murders represent 16 per cent of all female homicides reported in Canada even though aboriginal women represent only about four per cent of Canada’s female population. The RCMP says 164 aboriginal women have disappeared since 1980.
Organizers of marches around this issue have long said the number of murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls is much higher than these statistics with the total number is probably as high as 3,000. Many cases are not resolved.
Making matters worse, in 2010 the Conservative government began chopping funding for local initiatives that organizers point out benefited aboriginal women, including a Sisters in Spirit database on missing and murdered aboriginal women run by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Today’s event is an opportunity for Montrealers to show their solidarity on this important issue.
When: February 14, 2015, 3 p.m.
Where: Cabot Square, Ste Catherine St. W. & Atwater (Atwater metro)
Kahnawake residents: A bus will leave Kahnawake Shakotiia’takéhnhas Community Services at 2 p.m.