What is Happening
As of March 31, 2010, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has gathered information about the disappearance or death of more than 580 Aboriginal women and girls across Canada. This finding is the result of quantitative and qualitative research carried out over a period of five years. In 2005, NWAC secured funding for the Sisters In Spirit initiative – a five-year research, education and policy initiative supported by Status of Women Canada – to address the root causes, circumstances and trends of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. NWAC has collected the evidence to document, in systematic way, issues of violence that women, families, and communities had been pointing to for the last generation.
What Their Stories Tell Us: Research findings from the Sisters In Spirit initiative brings together five years of research related to missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. The purpose of this report is to answer three fundamental questions: What are the circumstances, root causes and trends leading to violence against Aboriginal women in Canada? How many Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been found murdered in Canada? And, why this violence has led to such disturbingly high numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada without connection by police or justice authorities?
What Their Stories Tell Us presents demographic and statistical evidence from NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit database, while situating the issue within the larger context of root causes and ways forward. It also draws on information gathered through the existing literature and highlights some of the stories and experiences shared by families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. NWAC reminds readers that each number presented here represents a woman or girl who is loved and missed by her family.
As of March 31, 2010, 582 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls have been entered into NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit database. NWAC’s research has found that the intergenerational impact and resulting vulnerabilities of colonization and state policies—such as residential schools, the 60s Scoop, and the child welfare system—are underlying factors in the outcomes of violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls. In summarizing the research and identifying trends related to root causes and circumstances, there are a number of key findings that should inform policy decisions, victim services, and action. These key findings are supported by the common themes that emerge from the life stories previously shared in the first and second editions of Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit: A report to families and communities.
The following are the regional fact sheets for quick reference of the 2010 data:
Missing and Murdered Aboriginal
Violence Against Aboriginal
Roots Causes of Violence Against