Ottawa Addresses Violence against Indigenous Women

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Two years ago, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released a report. Two years later, Ottawa addresses violence against Indigenous Women. The federal government made a response today with a 30-page report. It promises a series of changes to address inequities that indigenous people face within the justice system.

The federal government developed the report with input from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Its goal is to end the violence that Indigenous women and gender-diverse people face. The government intends to allocate more budget to Indigenous language, culture, infrastructure, health, and policing. As well, Ottawa will give more control to communities, so their approach becomes culturally relevant.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett stated: “Substantial and transformative change by all government orders is essential to ending the violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.” According to her, Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing.

Indigenous women represent four percent of the Canadian population. However, 28 percent of all homicide women victims in 2019 were them. Bennet believes that systemic discrimination and Canada’s history of colonialism is the driving factor.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that Ottawa will address the violence against Indigenous women. He said the government would spend $2.2 billion over five years to implement the program successfully. “To the survivors and families, elders, representatives and commissioners and to everyone involved in this work — your voices have been heard,” Trudeau said. “To truly heal these wounds, we must first acknowledge the truth. And not only about residential schools, but about so many injustices, both past, and present, that Indigenous peoples face,” he added.

The government will introduce new legislation to recognize First Nations-led policing as an essential service. Ottawa will also expand the program to new communities and fund repairing, renovating, and replacing existing police facilities in First Nations and Inuit communities. The federal government is also promising new investment for the RCMP.

The government has also recently promised to new legislation for indigenous-controlled health care.