Definition of aboriginal people
The aborigines are the earliest inhabitants of Canada before it became a nation back in 1867. They can trace their roots to almost 300 years ago. Aboriginal people consist of three main distinct groups namely: First Nations, Inuit, and Metis. These three families practiced diverse cultural practices that are compatible and unique in their way. Chartrand, & Whitecloud (2001), they are a nomadic community and are ever migrating hence the reason why they do not accrue too much property. They practiced distinct cultures, regarding religion, political settings, food, and mode of dressing, language, and staple food. Certain traditions amongst the Aborigines guided the way they got their meals and the way it was to be shared among people in the community.
Primarily, it was the responsibility of the males to go hunting. The men and young boys were to look for food and bring it home. It was their duty and liability to ensure that the family never lacked food at any given moment. The males were responsible for the hunting animals for their families. The Aboriginal women played the role of food collection (Chartrand, & Whitecloud, 2001). They did single food groups such as the gathering of fruits and fishing. Gathering of insects too was considered a light task hence left for the women to handle. Hitherto, the gender roles in food are still being practiced among the Aborigines though in a different and more civilized way. In the past, the Aborigines relied on hunting and gathering for their daily meals. However, as the visitors advanced to their lands, they adopted to their new plants and feeding habits amongst other cultural practice.
The Inuit occupied the Arctic and subarctic region whereby they lived a nomadic life due to their weather condition. Therefore, they made temporary settlements that would sustain them for a short period and afterward would move to another place once winter approached. Due to the harsh environmental conditions, they ended up inventing their form of technology known as igloo which helped them survive the harsh weather conditions. On the other hand, First Nations and the Metis occupied North America region. Unlike the Inuit, they had permanent settlements and relied on fishing and hunting for their survival. The aboriginal community has been proven one hard working one and that it is through their hard work that they can sustain themselves in the places they live. The Aboriginals are believed to be among the first founders of knowledge and other innovations practiced among the European countries. However, despite their economic advancement, the aboriginals have been marginalized over the years.
The role of aboriginal women in the community
The Aboriginal women played a vital role in the community set up among the Aboriginal community. They played key roles in spiritual ceremonies as well as in bringing up their families. They were termed to be the second head of the household after their husbands. Police, (2015) Aboriginals women are said to be hardworking and were responsible for carrying out the domestic responsibilities of their families while the men went in search of food and shelter for their families. In line with the Aboriginals teachings, husbands, and wives were taught to be respectable to each other and care for one another. Citing from the Aboriginalst stories of creation, women were known to be the center of all the creation legends. Through them, generations were established, and the world came into existence. However, with the introduction of civilization, the Europeans invaded the Aboriginals land. According to Dickinson (2014), this led to the assimilation of some of their cultures, which involves women being termed to be inferior and should always be submissive to their male counterparts. With the introduction of this notion, most aboriginal women were blatantly discriminated against leading to segregation in the community.
Attack on the Aboriginal Community by the colonizers
Issues of Discrimination, racism and missing persons among the Aboriginal community came into existence after the onset of colonialism by the Europeans. The Aboriginal community greatly detested the entry of foreigners into their land (Police, 2015). The foreigners were bound to destroy their property, grab their resources, and interfere with their cultures, which led to their subjugation. When the colonizers made their way into the Aboriginal land, they ensured that they demoralized and intimidated the aboriginal women since most of the activities conducted in the community were chaired by them. Unlike the Aboriginal women, Europeans believed that women should not have a leading role in the society. However, they should be left behind and take care of their husbands and family since they are supposedly weak, unlike their male counterparts.
Colonizers ended up interfering with the Aboriginals, way of life, their culture, religion and also the environment. They grabbed most of their lands, did away with their vegetation, and in turn introduced farming, unlike the Aboriginals who were hunters and gatherers. They depleted their food and sent them to reserves where they were forced to live on small pieces of land where they could not practice their perpetual activities. The Aboriginal women were subjected to Victorian mortality, and most of them ended up losing their identities (Chartrand, & Whitecloud, 2001). Besides this, the colonizers portrayed them as savages, and their lifestyle was also declared illegal. The Aboriginal children were also forced to residential schools where they were compelled to practice Christianity, and some claimed to be often abused under the care in residential schools. These acts came to be the onset of the woes faced by the Aboriginal women today. The colonizers and missionaries harassed the women, subjected them to sexism, and assailed them for their cultural practices.
It is through these acts that the aboriginal community, especially the women have been under attack in the Canadian society. Currently, Aboriginal women have been the victims of homicide, murder, racism, sexism, and increased cases of domestic violence (Chartrand, & Whitecloud, 2001). However, the government has put a little effort in protecting them since they are a marginalized community and most of them are found in the reserve areas within Canada.
Missing women in Aboriginal community
Over the past decade, the have been emerging cases of mysterious death of aboriginal women and girls that cannot be explained. According to a report compiled by Native Woments Association of Canada, over the past three decades, 4000 Aboriginal women have been reported missing (Police, 2015). Out of these numbers, 582 of these cases have been published between 2008 and 2017. The issue affects all aboriginal communities, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit. Out of the 582 missing women, 67% of these are murder cases, which results due to cases of homicide and negligence, 4% are mysterious death cases, 20% of missing persons that cannot be accounted for, and the other 9% the nature of their cause cannot be fathomed. These cases have been in existence since 1993 to date. However, the Canadian government has done little since most of these issues are not officially reported. Out of these cases, most involves women and girls who are between 18-31 years. In another similar report, it is stated that 70% of the native women disappearing cases are reported in urban centers while the other percentage are reported in reserve and rural areas (Dickinson, 2014). Despite the geographical location, any case reported on a missing aboriginal woman directly affects the entire Aboriginal society since the community is marginalized and said to occupy only 4% of the total population in Canada.
For instance, a case was reported in 2014 whereby the body of an Aboriginal 15-year-old girl was found floating on Winnipeg Red River. After a thorough investigation had been conducted, it was discovered that the girl had been murdered and the body dumped by a 53-year-old drifter. Reuters (2015), the girl had been reported to be missing after she ran away from the care of a child welfare system. In another report by Freeman, (2016), a 25-year-old girl was reported missing and later found dead inside her house in Reginats North Central. After investigations had been conducted, it was discovered that there was no form of foul play or murder but homicide by the victim. However, in a separate report, the grandmother to the girl states that a week before the death, her granddaughter was acting in a peculiar way and had even changed her bedroom lock for more than three times. This indicates that she was afraid of an intruder who now cannot be traced. These are just, but a few of the cases reported. The list tends to be endless. From a report submitted by the Aboriginal women to them, cases of violence, missing persons, rape, and murder cases have become the order of the day. Not a year passes before a new case erupts on a missing Aboriginal woman. Currently, the aboriginal women are living in fear of their lives.
The help of canadian mounted police
In line with these cases, the National Missing Strategy was formed back in September 2014 to look into investigations involving missing Aboriginal women and sensitize the community on the importance of communication protocols among them. The organization would act as strategy tool in providing directives and a platform whereby cases of missing persons can be reported, and investigations have taken into consideration with immediate effect. The organization is also focusing on initiating prevention efforts in spousal violence since few of the cases reported have been committed by strangers (Dickinson, 2014). This will help in reducing cases of homicide among the aboriginal women among other native communities. It is argued that, due to the cultural practices among the Aboriginal community, women have been left behind concerning development and progress making them submissive to their husbands. In case violence erupts in such a case, the women do not have a place to turn to since they portray themselves to be inferior to their male counterparts.
On most occasions, many of these women end up opting to commit suicide since they do not have a system to report to or someone to look up to on their issues. With the help of RCMP, the organizations have been able to establish their services among the Aboriginal communities to all Canadas provinces (Dickinson, 2014). These initiatives will be of benefit to these vulnerable communities, which will help in the delivery of violence prevention initiatives. Detachment commanders are expected to work together with the local community leaders in the area to order to set up on action plans that would lead to the reduction of missing person cases.
The creation of public awareness
One of the most fundamental strategies that the RCMP has invested in is the creation of public awareness. Through these initiatives, the community comes together and share information regarding their missing persons and information is used in conducting the search (Chartrand & Whitecloud, 2001). Besides this, sharing of experiences enables the women to learn from other people cases as well as be notified in case a similar issue arises and a better cause of action to uptake rather than opting to homicide. As a tool to raise awareness within the community, the NGO’s and Canada’s government come together on specific days and teach them on the implications of family violence and importance of reporting missing persons. The issue of missing individuals and death of Aboriginal women has grown to be a national disaster, and the efforts are employed to bring the culprits to book.
In addition to this, the National Center for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) has also incorporated a website whereby, one can publish reports on missing person cases (Police 2015). This will also help in solving the mysterious case since updating of these cases will contribute to creating awareness on the issue at hand.
Despite being a marginalized community, all people have the freedom to liberty and a right to live. It is a high time that the Canadian government takes these actions against humanity into its hand brings the perpetrators to book. Justice should prevail, and the Aboriginal women are included in the states’ plans to restore security among these communities.
Chartrand, P. L., ; Whitecloud, W. (2001). The Justice System and Aboriginal people: The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba: Winnipeg.
Dickinson, P. (2014). Murdered and Missing women: Performing Indigenous cultural memory in British Columbia and beyond. Theatre Survey, 55(02), 202-232.
Freeman, A. (August 4 2016). The mystery of 1,000 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. The Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/04/the-mystery-of-1000-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-in-canada/?utm_term=.92d36d47d978
Police, R. C. M. (2015). Missing and murdered Aboriginal women: 2015 update to the national operational overview. Retrieved on January 8, 2015.
Reuters. (June 19, 2015). Canadian aboriginal women four times more likely to be murdered, police say. The Guardian. Retrieved from: