A chilling national inquiry has determined that the frequent and widespread disappearance and murder of indigenous girls and women in Canada is a genocide that the government itself is responsible for. The findings were announced by the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls at a ceremony on Monday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the families of victims. Many in the audience held red flowers to commemorate the dead. The national inquiry was convened after the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine from the Sagkeeng First Nation was found in the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2014. The report follows decades of anguish and anger as indigenous communities have called for greater attention to the epidemic of dead and missing indigenous women, girls and two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual people. Some 1,500 family members of victims and survivors gave testimony to the commission, painting a picture of violence, state-sanctioned neglect, and “pervasive racist and sexist stereotypes” that led nearly 1,200 indigenous women and girls to die or go missing between 1980 and 2012. Indigenous activists say this number could be a massive undercount, as many deaths go unreported and unnoticed. We speak with Marion Buller, chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and Robyn Bourgeois, assistant professor in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock University.
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