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Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls in Canada

Updated: Jan 23

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,


There is an extremely large and disproportionate number of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ people in Canada who are missing or have been murdered. This issue has gotten to the point that it is considered a genocide, and has led to a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as the creation of a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.


As the National Inquiry explains, Canadian genocide targets all Indigenous peoples, but especially Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. [1] It has consistently been proven by statistics that “rates of violence against Métis, Inuit, and First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA people are much higher than for non-Indigenous women in Canada,” even when all other factors are taken into account. [2]


Photo credit: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/seven-key-learnings-from-the-mmiwg-legal-analysis-on-genocide


Systems of oppression, such as colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, run rampant in Canada. These systems take place in both informal and formal settings, and have become normalized to the point that they are often unnoticed. The normalization of oppressive systems and beliefs, as well as centuries-long efforts to dehumanize and devalue the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, is directly related to the “appalling apathy” that Canadian society and Canadian institutions have shown to the national issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). [3]


Because of the disappointingly common apathy that many Canadians show when it comes to violence committed against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, the families, friends, and other community members of the MMIWG have been the main driving force behind any actions being taken to address the issue. They are the ones calling for action, taking a stand, raising awareness, organizing marches, memorials, and other events, fundraising, and fighting for support from police and government. [4]


The National Action Plan, when referring specifically to Alberta, recognizes that “the voices and experiences of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people are at the heart of Alberta’s efforts to end violence,” but also recognizes that the government must work with these Indigenous advocates, and support and implement the programs and services that they recommend. [5]


MMIWG is not an Indigenous issue, and it is not a women’s issue, it is a Canadian issue, and the burden of all of this work should not remain solely on the backs of the grieving families and friends. [6] Canadians and Canadian officials have to do their part, and use their power and influence to actually make a difference. It really is a matter of life and death, and these missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals are not just numbers, and not just names. They are people; sisters, daughters, mothers, aunties, grandmas, granddaughters, friends, nieces, human beings. They deserve respect, and they deserved to be safe in this country.


The Progress Report on the National Action Plan makes it clear that more action is needed. [7]


For many Canadians, it might feel like this issue is out of your hands, or there is nothing you can personally do to fix it. But to all Canadians, I implore you to reflect on the part you do play. What do you do when you hear someone use racist, sexist, or homophobic terms, or belittle women or Indigenous peoples? Do you say something? Do you stand up to it? Or do you shrug it off, or even laugh? Tolerating oppressive ideas, or staying silent in the face of discrimination, means that those ideas and that discrimination continues to spread, and nothing breaks the cycle that has led to the disproportionate violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals.


For situations like this, if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I hope that you will all join us in trying to be part of the solution as we discuss these heavy topics over the next few weeks.


Until next time,

Team Reconcili-ACTION YEG



[1] “Reclaiming Power and Place: Executive Summary of the Final Report” (2019) at 3, online (pdf): National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls <https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Executive_Summary.pdf>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Supra note 1 at 4.

[4] “Indigenous leaders and advocates in Winnipeg say the MMIWG crisis is a national state of emergency” (5 December 2022) online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/mmiwg-winnipeg-rally-national-emergency-1.6674143>.

[5] “2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan: Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People” (3 June 2021) at 83, online (pdf): National Action Plan <https://mmiwg2splus.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/NAP_Report_EN.pdf>.

[6] Supra note 4.

[7] “2022 Progress Report on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan” (23 May 2022) at 26, online (pdf): National Action Plan <https://mmiwg2splus.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/NAP-progress-report-2022-1.pdf>.



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