A Resource for the Families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Women

The project, led by Professor Vicki Chartrand, Genner Llanes-Ortiz and Alex Miltsov of the Department of Sociology, is working in partnership with Indigenous partners, including Gitxsan/Wet’suwet’en knowledge custodian and activist Gladys Radek, as well as Knowledge Keeper Tk’emlúpste Secwépemc Viola Thomas. The team also received a grant of nearly $ 300,000 from the Human Resources Research Council of Canada to carry out the project.

The idea began to grow in 2008, when Professor Vicki Chartrand was working with Gladys Radek on the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Gladys lost a niece in 2005. She traveled five times around the country to address the issue. […] He also linked families and communities to his walks. He was able to give hope to families.

Before the marches, almost no one spoke about the murdered and missing women and girls, Gladys Radek said. This is a topic that does not exist.

When we started the marches, we realized that many families of the victims were working within their communities to raise awareness of their purpose, and lobbying for the necessary resources for the community. »

A quote from Gladys Radek, Gitxsan/Wet’suwet’en Knowledge Keeper and Activist

The combined harassment of all these families led to the holding of the National Inquiry into Missing and Killed Indigenous Women and Women. Gladys Radek was a member of the National Family Advisory Circle, which advised the investigation team. For him, this is proof that the communities themselves can meet their needs, if they have the necessary tools.

All our communities are different, our languages, our cultures are different. So our needs are differentadded Gladys Radek. The government gives money to organizations that do little. Our opinion is rarely taken into account in decisions. Hence the need to identify initiatives, he says, that have a real impact on communities.

Gladys Radek as she holds the photo of her niece, Tamara Chipman, who disappeared near Highway 16, the Highway of Tears, east of Prince Rupert in 2005.

Photo: Courtesy of Gladys Radek)

The two women began documenting activities the families did to support the community, help it heal or prevent violence. We were able to collect 500 community initiativesunderlined Gladys Radek.

To achieve this, interviews were conducted by the team with Indigenous families, the information published in the media was analyzed and all the testimonies of the National Inquiry into Missing and Killed Indigenous Women and Women were read.

Not only does it show that there are vast resources, capabilities and strengths in indigenous communities, but it also reflects the many strengths of justice. [communautaire] added Vicki Chartrand.

These activities are really rich and diverse. These range from public education to community patrols, healing groups, and remembrance and support activities. »

A quote from Vicki Chartrand, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Bishop’s University

Drag Red is one of the initiatives that marked Vicki Chartrand. Launched in 2014 following the discovery of Tina Fontaine’s body in Winnipeg’s Red River, the project aims to examine the river for human remains that may match missing Indigenous people.

Police did not want to search the river further because they said it was dangerous and ineffective, he explained. The community decided to search the river to determine if other women were missing. They pooled their resources. They have developed toolkits. For me, this is a community response. It is more than imagination and capacities that the state can afford.

What I see is justice going to the communities themselves with support and resources. »

A quote from Vicki Chartrand, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Bishop’s University
The metal structure of a boat rests on an assembly line.

To find the bottom of the river, a boat was made in the workshops of the company Zag Fab Boats, in Manitoba.

Photo: Unifor/Twitter

By sharing her resources on the web, Vicki Chartrand hopes to make them more accessible to all communities. Other families can use these resources, he explained. Gladys Radek also said communities can get inspiration from what is being done elsewhere.

Some communities have resources for young people, others do not, he gives as an example. Our job is also to find what can help these communities, and help them get them. Our government must put the money in the right resources.

Vicki Chartrand explained that there are still a few steps to go through before this directory can be put online, but she hopes this resource will be available in 2025.

The team is now working with seven partners, but wants to find more. They are really open to the possibility of having resources developed by indigenous peoples, and not just by the Statehe concludes.

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