Canada's Original Think Tank

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls


Published on 4 October 2017
Hansard and Statements by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:

Honourable senators, October 4 is a day on which we honour the victims and families of those indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or made missing. We started off this sitting of the Senate with a moment of silence. Your Honour and honourable senators, I thank you all for that from the bottom of my heart.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has begun its community hearings. Honourable senators, we already know that indigenous women and girls are three times more likely to be made missing and four times more likely to be murdered compared to non-indigenous women; indigenous women are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-indigenous women; and simply being indigenous is a risk factor for violence for women but not for men.

We must act now, here in this chamber — just as we did a few moments ago — and in our communities, to combat the specific racism and sexism that make our indigenous women and girls so vulnerable.

Colleagues, there are two other simple actions that you can do today to help: one, you can wear the Sisters in Spirit button from the Native Women’s Association of Canada — they’re in the reading room; and two, you can write a message of support on a paper heart, also in the reading room. You can take one of those, create a message and post it on your Facebook or other social media. By doing so, you will be raising awareness about the issue and letting families and loved ones know that they have your support.

Across Canada today, Canadians will be participating in the Sisters in Spirit vigils initiated by the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2005. The vigil on Parliament Hill this year started earlier today and is still occurring now. I hope senators were able to attend it before our sitting — or maybe you will have a few moments to step out later this afternoon. Over 200 such vigils are occurring across Canada.

On October 4, we gather to honour our lost sisters and their families. We gather to show we are a united front. We gather to shed light on a crisis that affects every Canadian. We gather to encourage all Canadians to do their part to address the underlying racism and sexism that have led to the disproportionate number of indigenous women and girls and two-spirited people who are made missing or murdered. We gather to ensure that we don’t lose any more sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers. Thank you.