NWAC: How Many More Indigenous Bodies Need to Be Found Before Government Acts?
April 6, 2023
(Ottawa, ON) The discovery of another Indigenous woman’s body at a Winnipeg landfill site earlier today underscores the urgent need for the federal government to take swift action to end the genocide of Indigenous women, according to the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).
Yet few feel particularly hopeful that this will be the case.
The national organization representing Indigenous women, girls, Transgender, Two-Spirit, and Gender-Diverse+ Peoples has been pressing the government for years to take the findings of genocide by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) seriously and to put the funding and resources necessary into ending this crisis. Yet, in spite of statistics that show that the homicide rate for Indigenous people is still seven time higher than for non-indigenous people, the government’s response has been weak at best. It’s action plan, released nearly three years ago to address this tragedy, lacked dedicated three critical components: funding, timelines and measurable goals.
The deceased, Linda Mary Beardy from Lake St. Martin, Manitoba area, is the fifth woman found in the landfill that has been at the centre of protests for months. Activists have been stationed there for months urging police to search the site for other missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“The sad fact is that Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirt, transgender and gender-diverse people are being murdered and going missing with horrific regularity and at disproportionate rates right across our country. Year after year, we have called upon the federal government to step up and put the resources necessary into ending the slaying of our sisters, mothers, daughters and aunties. But every year we are met with words but no actions,” said Lynne Groulx, NWAC CEO. “This latest discovery underlines (again) why the government needs to step up its response to this genocide. We need the funding necessary to resource our front-line organizations in each province and we need to the resources necessary to build our healing lodges and safe spaces.”
“We are shocked and saddened to learn yet another Indigenous woman’s body was found at the Brady landfill site,” said Melissa Critch, co-chair of NWAC’s Manitoba Provincial Territorial Member Association, Manitoba Moon Voices. “I have visited this landfill for many years and always wondered which relative my feet were standing on. Our biggest fear is that it will always be us. We must not forget that each of these women was a human being. They are not just crime statistics. They are our family members who all had hopes and dreams.”
“As late as last week, the federal government failed to make MMIWG and protecting Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirt, transgender and gender-diverse people a top priority when it announced its budget that was devoid of investment to end economic marginalization in order to end the violence,” Ms Groulx added. “The violence continues. The genocide continues. We view ending this horrific situation a priority but clearly the government does not.”