Quebec Native Women support NWAC’s call to keep the Sisters in Spirit program alive

Kahnawake Mohawk Territory
Quebec Native Women supports the Native Women Association of Canada’s call to keep SIS alive and funded.
While Canada’s announcement of an action plan on violence against Aboriginal women is a welcomed initiative, its current form is flawed by  directing funds and enhanced support essentially to policing authorities rather than towards Aboriginal women’s groups and the actual victims and their families.
When Status of Women Minister, Rona Ambrose, announced the silencing of the Sisters In Spirit project, it became another example of the colonial attitude that still exists in Canada. The SIS initiative has been an essential step to establish the connection of cause and effect to the violence directed against Aboriginal women. Its work is fundamental to the awareness of the Canadian public on this issue and the research is far from being over.
SIS evolved from a report in 2004 called “Stolen Sisters” by Amnesty International in collaboration with NWAC which depicts the dire situation of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.  This report paints a portrait that this serious problem is rooted in colonialism and racism. SIS research attained a level of internationally recognized program of research and its database must continue in order to uncover the root causes of violence against Aboriginal women and its historical, social, economical and political background. This important work cannot be accomplished by the announced National Police Support Centre for Missing Persons since it will not even include a special section dedicated to murdered or missing Aboriginal women.
As such, Canada is ignoring an important fact emphasized in AI “Stolen Sisters” report and its 2009 update, that a key element to this problem has been that police authorities failed to consider the disappearance and murder of Aboriginal women as a serious problem or priority.
The Sister in Spirit project is still the most viable answer to guiding all levels of government with policy solution. Reconciliation and justice with the full and effective participation of Aboriginal peoples must be brought to eliminate the hundreds of years old problem of racism and colonialism that Indigenous peoples have endured.
Ellen Gabriel