Harper Solicits Research to Blame First Nations for Murdered, Missing and Traded Indigenous Women

Canada’s shameful colonial history as it relates to Indigenous peoples and women specifically is not well known by the public at large. The most horrific of Canada’s abuses against Indigenous peoples are not taught in schools. Even public discussion around issues like genocide have been censored by successive federal governments, and most notably by Harper’s Conservatives. Recently, the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights refused to use the term “genocide” to describe Canada’s laws, policies and actions towards Indigenous peoples which led to millions of deaths. The reason?: because that term was not acceptable to the federal government and the museum is after all, a Crown corporation. http://indigenousnationhood.blogspot.ca/2013/07/human-rights-museum-or-harper.html Aside from the fact that this museum will be used as a propaganda tool for Canada vis-à-vis the international community, Harper’s Conservatives are also paying for targeted research to back up their propaganda as it relates to murdered, missing and traded Indigenous women. This is not the first time that Harper has paid for counter information and propaganda material as it relates to Indigenous peoples, and it likely won’t be the last. However, this instance of soliciting targeted research to help the government blame Indigenous peoples for their own victimization and oppression is particularly reprehensible given the massive loss of life involved over time. http://indigenousnationhood.blogspot.ca/2011/06/secret-agent-harper-conservative-spy.html The issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women was made very public by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) several years ago through their dedicated research, community engagement and advocacy efforts. Even the United Nations took notice and starting commenting on Canada’s obligation to address this serious issue. Yet, in typical Harper-Conservative style, once the issue became a hot topic in the media, they cut critical funding to NWAC’s Sisters in Spirit program which was the heart of their research and advocacy into murdered and missing Indigenous women. http://indigenousnationhood.blogspot.ca/2010/11/neanderthal-politics-shame-on.html To further complicate the matter, any attempts for a national inquiry into the issue has been thwarted by the federal government, despite support for such an inquiry by the provinces and territories. One need only look at the fiasco of the Pickton Inquiry in British Columbia to understand how little governments in Canada value the lives of Indigenous women, their families and communities. The inquiry was headed by Wally Oppal, the same man who previously denied the claims of Indigenous women who were forcibly sterilized against their knowledge and consent. The inquiry seemed more interested in insulating the RCMP from investigation and prosecution than it was about hearing the stories of Indigenous women. http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/pamela-palmater/2011/10/murdered-missing-and-still-excluded-indigenous-women-fight-eq Now, the Canadian public has to deal with a new chapter to this story – the sale of Indigenous women into the sex trades. The CBC recently reported that current research shows that Indigenous women, girls and babies in Canada were taken onto US ships to be sold into the sex trade. While this is not new information for Indigenous peoples, it is something that Canada has refused to recognize in the past. The research also shows that Indigenous women are brought onto these boats never to be seen from again. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/story/2013/08/21/tby-first-nations-women-human-trafficking-ships-united-states.html The issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women has now expanded to murdered, missing and traded women. One might have expected a reaction from both the Canadian government and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Yet, the day after the story hit the news, the AFN was tweeting about local competitions and the federal government was essentially silent. I say essentially, because while all of this was taking place, the federal government put together a Request for Proposals on MERX (#275751) to solicit research to blame the families and communities of Indigenous women for being sold into the sex trade. https://www.merx.com/English/SUPPLIER_Menu.asp?WCE=Show&TAB=1&PORTAL=MERX&State=7&id=275751&src=osr&FED_ONLY=0&ACTION=&rowcount=&lastpage=&MoreResults=&PUBSORT=2&CLOSESORT=0&IS_SME=Y&hcode=%2f6A6jdkNJoHoufgILSp4Xg%3d%3d Instead of making a call for true academic research into the actual causes and conditions around Indigenous women, girls and babies being sold into the sex trade, the federal government solicited research to prove: (1) the involvement of family members in their victimization; (2) the level to which domestic violence is linked to the sale of Indigenous women into the sex trade; and (3) even where they are investigating gang involvement, it is within the context of family involvement of the trade of Indigenous women. The parameters of the research excludes looking into federal and/or provincial laws and policies towards Indigenous peoples; funding mechanisms which prejudice them and maintain them in the very poverty the research identifies; and negative societal attitudes formed due to government positions vis-à-vis Indigenous women like: – rapes and abuse in residential schools; – forced sterilizations; – the theft of thousands of Indigenous children into foster care; – the over-representation of Indigenous women in jails; – and the many generations of Indigenous women losing their Indian status and membership and being kicked off reserves by federal law. The research also leaves out a critical aspect of this research which is federal and provincial enforcement laws, policies and actions or lack thereof in regards to the reports of murdered, missing and traded Indigenous women, girls and babies. The epic failure of police to follow up on reports and do proper investigations related to these issues have led some experts to conclude that this could have prevented and addressed murdered, missing and traded Indigenous women. Of even greater concern are the allegations that have surfaced in the media in relation to RCMP members sexually assaulting Indigenous women and girls. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/02/12/bc-human-rights-watch-abuse-report.html This MERX Request for Proposals is offensive and should be retracted and re-issued in a more academically-sound manner which looks to get at the full truth, versus a federally-approved pre-determined outcome. It’s time Canada opened up the books, and shed light on the real atrocities in this country so that we can all move forward and address them.


  1. The situation is this; as girls & women in any reservation is beyond what you can imagine. Just knowing about the drug epidemic is way too too over whelming. We /us face all the violence and are mostly all helpless, young/elders and no one will listen or know.

    1. It seems to me the Idle No More and even Facebook are working to unite women/youth/people outside of their communities. I hope this writer reaches out beyond the walls to find listening ears and help elsewhere if it is not available at home.

  2. *sigh* Honestly, this government is so corrupt nothing they do surprises me anymore. I am still – years later – absolutely sickened and ashamed by the cancellation of Sisters in Spirit's funding – to take addressing a problem impacting Aboriginal women away from Aboriginal women and assign it to a group of older, well-paid, white MEN … who proved, in their first report on the issue, how distressing CLUELESS they were and were determined to remain…! How could that be construed as anything but colonization at its worst? The Harper-cons are absolutely and completely corrupt – with a side order of evil tossed in for good measure.

  3. .. the root problem of violent assault, murder or abduction is the victim .. ?? That's where Harper, Flanagan, Baird et al would steer this ?

    .. that's willful blindness.. malevolence .. ignorance .. racism and bigotry in the poison garden of idiot evangelical political governance

  4. We as First nations, have to ask, is Canada ready to accept responsibility for past n current atrocities inflicted on our peoples? I believe recognition and awareness is as good a start as any if we are to get to the root cause of this terrible evil! We have suffered and survived the unimaginable and will continue to do so! With passionate,dedicated persons such as yourself fighting to right these terrible wrongs, I believe one day that there will an awakening like never ever witnessed before! I commend you!!

  5. I am a white teacher. I worked in Pikangikum Ontario early this year. For the last 7 years I have been working all over the world teaching. This school and community in Ontario was the worse third world country setting I have ever seen. For the first time in my life I find it difficult to say "I am proud to be a Canadian." I love Canada but please Mr. Harper help these beautiful children of Pikangikum Ontario have a stronger chance to live happy, productive, peaceful and loving lives. Their living conditions are not fair, their lack of basic needs are not fair, and their extreme conditions are not fair. Open your eyes this is Canada not a third world country. Help these children have a chance in life and not end up victims of government neglect.

  6. I am a white male from nb. I lived in the state of maine for a few years, I was married and adopted a little baby from pleasant point. she is quarter indian. I have taken her different times to meet her real mom and also some of her native relatives. they said she should be intitled to status but they wont give it to her bc she is not all pasmaquoddy, she is part Micmac. she know lives with me in nb and has been in contact with relatives on fb to found out where she comes from like most adopted children would. last week I had her in Fredericton nb and she called her great aunt Margaret paul told her on the phone to stop contact with the family and there was a reason she was adopted. what a thing to say to someone who is trying to find herself. I thought they are supposed to be a proud people. the worst thing is they are out trying to reunite people back that where so called lost and they have her working with young people. my daughter I feel has rights but cant get anywhere bc she seems to call the shots in nb and maine. my daughter met someone in Calais maine and said she could get her status in nb and the next time she ran into her she said Margret paul said no. my daughter is 22 and has a one year old baby and is trying to go to college to help her and her baby. she needs help and cant get it. my name is tim McGinley and if anybody can help her with status call me at 596 466 4203 or email tim_mcginley@mail.com I believe she has to go through the nova scotia micmacs but I think she needs a family member to help

  7. I am non-aboriginal, and now frequently attend Idle No more events.
    How can our Prime Minister offer an official apology out of one side of the mouth and then subject the whole country to policies that shame and blame and take away crucial funding out of the other side of his mouth?
    I am absolutely beyond horrified at the government's approach to Truth and Reconciliation. More like: Lies and Cover-ups.

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