Author Archives: audreyhuntley

Another Dirty Secret – 100s of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Amid the spectacle of the torch relay and opening ceremony ushering in the 2010 Olympic Games Indigenous women and their allies prepare for the 19th annual Memorial March in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The event is held on Valentine’s Day and is an important time for the community to express their love for the over 70 women (about 1/3 Indigenous) who have been disappeared from the neighborhood. Led by elders and family members people visit the sites where women’s bodies were found or they were last seen – healing ceremonies are conducted, people cry and remember their mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters, friends.

While the arrest of one particularly heinous serial killer did put the spotlight on Vancouver, there is no safe place for Indigenous women in this country. They are at least five times more likely to be murdered than their non-Indigenous sisters.

Until Amnesty’s Stolen Sisters Report was released in 2004 and due to the tireless efforts of Indigenous women at the grass roots level the subject was pretty much off the media grid. Family members reporting missing loved ones to the police received no help, were often told that their daughter/mother/friend was probably “just out partying and would eventually turn up”. If they were eventually found, bodies often mutilated and dismembered the cases most often went unsolved and unreported. Articles that were published were notoriously racist and never hesitated to categorize the victim as a drug addicted prostitute or drunk – this being the case or not.

While the murders have not ceased, the Native Women’s Association has identified 520 women in the past 30 years, but some progress has been made with regards to the societal indifference surrounding the epidemic violence directed at Indigenous women. When two young girls were found dead near Winnipeg last summer it actually made the national news and there is talk of the creation of special task force.

In the past five years, Memorial Marches have sprung up around the country choosing February 14th to coincide with Vancouver’s event in order to express the bond of sisterhood and solidarity between communities. This year Marches will be held in Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, London and Sudbury.

February 14, 2006; Toronto

February 14, 2006; Toronto

Some more thoughts on the systemic nature of the violence as part and parcel of ongoing colonization and Indigenous women’s activism here.

And if all this hasn’t made you wary of applauding the Canadian colonizer state and those games taking place over the next two weeks check out these videos and follow the links to learn about the social, economic, environmental impacts the mega project is having and why No Olympics on Stolen Land is a cause to be embraced by all social justice seeking folks everywhere.

MONTH OF ANTI OLYMPIC RESISTANCE UNLEASHED
[blip.tv ?posts_id=3197040&dest=-1]

Resist 2010: Eight Reasons to Oppose the 2010 Winter Olympics.

All My Relations
Audrey Huntley is of mixed European and Indigenous Ancestry. She is the co-founder of No More Silence, a Toronto group dedicated to illustrating the systemic nature of violence against Indigenous women as an intrinsic part of ongoing colonization and genocide. She also makes documentaries and currently resides in Vancouver with her WolfDog Morty. She is @AudreyHuntley on Twitter
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