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Missing and Murdered

June is National Indigenous History Month, and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, so this month is a particularly good time to set the platitudes aside and think about what we can actually do to address the tragic reality of widespread violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.

We already know about abuse aimed at women, but in a country built on colonialism, violence is disproportionately felt by Indigenous women. For instance, about one-third of non-Indigenous women in Canada experience physical or sexual assault in their lifetime. Among Indigenous women, that figure is 63 per cent. And as gut-wrenching stories show us almost every week, Indigenous women are murdered and cast aside far more often than other women in Canada, dismissed in death as they so often are in life.

Here in Kawartha Lakes, we are just waking up to the reality that it’s not an accident or neutral historical fact that there is not a significant Indigenous presence in our midst—no friendship centre, no public art installations. Our homes, towns and farms are on the territory of the Michi Saagiig people who were pushed onto communities like Scugog Island, Curve Lake, Alderville and Hiawatha to make room for settlers.

How can you be an ally for Indigenous women? Here are a few suggestions:

Most important of all, though is listening. Our opinions and even our apologies can wait. For healing to begin, we must learn, listen and do what Indigenous women ask us to do.

Curve Lake Cultural Centre