Report Condemns ‘Genocide’ of Canadian First Nations, Calls for Language Changes


Indigenous women are six times as likely to be victims of homicide than non-indigenous women, the government agency Statistics Canada reported in 2017.

The report called the level of violence directed at Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (2SLGBTQQIA) people a Canadian genocide.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on the first full day of Women Deliver 2019, an global conference on gender equity being held in Vancouver this week.

The Times reports that Trudeau pledged to review the report, to create a "national action plan" to address issues, and to work with indigenous partners on next steps.

The report has numerous recommendations aimed at Canadian officials.

When addressing the report today, Justin Trudeau has refrained from describing the violence and deaths as a genocide, according to CTV News.

Debate has erupted over the definition of the term after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls repeatedly used it in its final report released Monday. "It is shameful, it is absolutely unacceptable and it must end".

"I think we should have conversations, not necessarily focus on words, but focus on actions that are in the calls for justice", she said.

"Canada has an obligation to find out why these women are missing and murdered, and Canada has an obligation to move beyond genocidal policies and practices that happen against the Indigenous people in this country", says Nepinak, who has lost loved ones, who are missing and murdered Indigenous women.

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"Canadians need to hear that this is a reality", says Crowchild.

"They are going to hear what we have to say, first of all", she said.

"What we're seeing is donors like the United States limiting, eliminating their funding, especially around - but it's not even limited to - reproductive health", she explains, saying this type of behaviour is behind the growing gap.

And it called for sweeping changes, detailed in 231 recommendations for improving the security, justice, health and culture of Canada's indigenous people.

The report outlines what chief commissioner Marion Buller refers to as "important truths", such as the role Canadian laws and institutions played by violating human rights of Indigenous peoples".

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported 1,181 cases of murdered or missing indigenous women and girls from 1980 to 2012.

"I hope that knowing these truths will contribute to a better understanding of the real lives of Indigenous people and the violations of their human and Indigenous rights when they were targeted for violence", Buller wrote. In 2014, the RCMP released a national overview and pegged the number of cases at almost 1,200 between 1980 and 2012.

Evelyne Youngchief, a survivor of violence who works on the front lines on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, said Monday the report may offer closure to some, but not her.

Teachers from elementary to post-secondary school are encouraged to educate their students about missing and murdered Indigenous women, including the root causes such as residential school, poverty and colonialism.