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Wednesday November 25 2015 3 JUSTICE MMIW BLACK FRIDAY SALE Open Late for Black Friday Enjoy exceptional holiday savings and extended shopping hours. This is our BIGGESTsale of the year Northern Store Fort Smith NT 867-872-2568 Friday November 27 from 900 a.m. - 1000 p.m. By DALI CARMICHAEL Foryearsadvocateshavebeencallingforan inquiryintocasesofmissingandmurderedin- digenouswomenacallthatwasansweredlast week when Indigenous and Northern Affairs MinisterCarolynBennettannouncedthedepart- mentwasinitiatingconsultationswithfamilies ofvictims-therststepintheinquiryprocess. Many advocates took the move as a victory though many questions remain about the scope of the inquiry which the government has dedicated 40 million towards so far. One of those questions rings loudly will incidents of missing and murdered Indige- nous men be examined as well In an interview with the CBC Bennett did not rule out the possibility. Whenyoulookatthesystemicproblemsand theeffectsofcolonizationtheeffectsofresiden- tial school there is no question that men and boyshavealsobeenvictimsofthissystemshe said.Ithinkthatitwouldbeimpossibletosep- arateouttheneedsofthemenandboysaswell aswebegintoaddressthesystemicproblems. An inquiry for men and women A growing number of advocates have been pushing for a gender-inclusive inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous people. In an Apr. 27 column published by the Na- tional Post University of British Columbia- Okanagan political science professor and genocide expert Dr. Adam Jones added his voice to the mix. According to Statistics Canada data com- piled by my research assistant Penny Hand- ley approximately 2500 aboriginal people were murdered in Canada between 1982 and 2011 out of 15000 murders in Canada over- all he wrote. Of the 2500 murdered ab- original Canadians fully 71 per cent 1750 were male and 745 were female and one was of unknown gender. A further 105 ab- original women were listed as missing for at least 30 days as of 2013 in cases where the reason for their disappearance was deemed unknown or foul play suspected according to a Toronto Star report. AnRCMPreportreleasedinMayofthisyear differs slightly with data indicating 1017 ab- originalwomenhavebeenmurderedsince1980. At this time there is no similar RCMP re- portdedicatedtoIndigenousmenandnoplans are in place to create one in the near future. We continue to focus our efforts on pre- venting violence against Aboriginal women to reduce the incidence of homicides and disap- pearanceswithinthisvulnerablepopulationa nationalRCMPspokespersontoldtheJournal. Taking matters into their own hands Jen Mt. Pleasant a masters student at Wil- frid Laurier University who hails from Six Na- tions Ontario is focusing her major research project on analyzing data she has collected on missing and murdered indigenous men. I started my research about ve years ago. I started with missing and murdered indig- enous women and then the more research I was doing the more stories I was coming across of missing and murdered indigenous men. It just seemed like no one was really paying attention to that she said. I think its misinforming people that only the indig- enous women are being victimized. Over the last two-and-a-half years Mt. Pleasant has compiled information from sta- tistics and media coverage creating a data- base of MMIM. Within the rst month I had about 300 names she said. Those names came from mostly publically accessible online police databases and the RCMP and then I relied mostly on news articles. Now she has about 750 names in her da- tabase though she said she has more to add her education has left her with limited time to dedicate to the project. Eventually she intends to publish her database online. Mt. Pleasant said she would like to eventually see a holistic inquiry to address the systemic nature of violence often perpetrated against Indigenous families as a whole. With women a lot of cases remain un- solved she said. For the men its different - usually its somebody that is known to him a lot of times its gang-related. She also pointed to a pattern of police-per- petrated violence against indigenous men highlighting the Starlight Tours of Saska- toon where police were caught driving men out of the city and abandoning them there. WithoutorganizationsliketheNativeWomens AssociationofCanada-thenationalgroupthat hassofeverentlydedicateditselftothecauseof missingandmurderedIndigenouswomen-Mt. Pleasant said it might not be realistic to have men included in an inquiry right away. It took literally 30 years to get missing and murdered women into the spotlight its only been in the last three years or so that its been covered so heavily in the media she said. It took decades of grassroots people and family members from all over Canada advocating for this and so I cant expect my research to just hop in the spotlight. Its going to take time. In an attempt to speed up that process Jones launched a petition calling for a gender- inclusive inquiry in mid-November. It seems to me that we have to opportu- nity potentially to stage an intervention that would encourage some measure of refram- ing both the campaign for an inquiry and the broader discussion of violence against aboriginal women and men girls and boys across the country Jones said. As of Nov. 23 about 80 supporters had signed the online petition. Murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls I think that has to be front-and- centre in any broader initiative he said. I have an image in my mind of something that Ive called a First Nations Anti-Violence Ini- tiative which would be aimed at getting to grips with systemic issues of very long stand- ing and of a very highly destructive nature that I think need to be discussed alongside any discussion of violent victimization of ab- original communities. These include but arent limited to the structural violence and the legacy of Canadas dispossession of Native peoples domestic and partner violence child abuse includ- ing in the residential school system suicide homelessness and addiction issues. Mt. Pleasant said she was weary of the pe- tition - due to its timing and the fact it was initiated by someone who does not identify as indigenous - but ultimately she agreed that its intentions were good. If you want to look at the whole issue of vio- lencethenyouhavetoreallylookatitfromand indigenous peoples perspective and not just specicallyindigenouswomenbecausealotof men are included in being victimized as well. Anti-violence advocates call for gender-neutral inquiry into missing murdered indigenous people PhotoCaseyKoyczan Yellowknifers take to the street in a march for missing and murdered women. Could the same thing happen but for men