As we read the reports and fact sheets, learn of the roots causes and trends and familiarize ourselves with the circumstances of violence that has led to disappearance and death, we must never forget that each number represents the story of a woman or girl who is loved and missed by her family.
NWAC has been honoured to share the life stories of Amber Redman, Beatrice Sinclair, Claudette Osborne, Daleen Kay Bosse (Muskego), Danita BigEagle, Debbie Sloss, Delores Whiteman, Georgina Papin, Gladys Tolley, Lisa Marie Young, Nina Courtepatte, Shelley Joseph, and Terrie Ann Martin (Dauphinais). These are the stories of mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and sisters. Stories of beautiful women and girls with hopes, dreams, and gifts.
Tragically, too many stories illustrate the social and economic marginalization of Aboriginal women in Canada. While some of their stories reveal experiences of poverty, abuse or addictions—issues often associated with increased vulnerability or so-called ‘high-risk’ lifestyles—many of these women and girls were ‘vulnerable’ only insofar as they were Aboriginal women. We agree with other knowledge seekers that these women were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time in a society that poses a risk to their safety. They were targeted because they were Aboriginal, and it was assumed that either they would not fight back or they would not be missed.
Below are the life stories that have been gifted to NWAC by their family members. Their stories reflect some of the experiences and impacts faced by women, girls and their families. But most of all, they are a reminder that Aboriginal women and girls are strong, beautiful, proud and loved.