March in Saskatoon supports Marlene Bird as she returns to Saskatchewan

Event highlights issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women

Colleen Whitedeer participates in today's march in Saskatoon in support of assault victim Marlene Bird. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Colleen Whitedeer participates in today’s march in Saskatoon in support of assault victim Marlene Bird. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

 

Source: CBC News

Saskatoon’s police chief and the chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation led a march in support of Marlene Bird this morning.

Bird is the homeless woman who was brutally attacked last month in Prince Albert. She has been receiving treatment at a hospital in Edmonton and was set to arrive in Saskatoon Wednesday for further treatment at a hospital in her home province.

About 70 people joined in the Saskatoon walk.

DeeAnn Mercier was among them. She works at the Lighthouse shelter and said homeless people are often victims of random attacks.

“Our mobile outreach team was out last night and picked an individual up who had been urinated on and someone had stolen his pants,” Mercier said. “It’s just so humiliating for folks.”

Mercier said fortunately that person was physically unhurt, but she worries that other Lighthouse clients may not be so lucky.

Part of the aim of today’s walk is to spur more donations for Bird’s care after she is released from hospital, said Eldon Henderson, one of the event’s organizers.

“She’s going to need a home… and wheelchair accessibility,” Henderson explained.

Two fundraising efforts are underway, including one by the Prince Albert YWCA. The Montreal Cree Nation has also set up a trust account at the Royal Bank.

By Henderson’s estimate about $13,000 had been raised as of the start of Wednesday morning. He was unable to say at this point how much more money is needed.

Meanwhile, Montreal Lake is focusing more attention on the wider issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. It’s co-hosting the 1st Annual Canadian Indigenous Women Conference this November in Saskatoon.

In August the community will begin raising money to establish a Foundation for Aboriginal Women in Canada. It will offer help to the survivors of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

“We want to make sure that we have the expertise and the staff there that’s going to complement that healing process for the families,” Henderson said.

It’s hoped the foundation will also have a scholarship program.

RCMP uncover over 1,000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women

 

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30. Apr, 2014 by APTN National News |

 

Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
An RCMP project aimed at tallying the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women has uncovered “over 1,000” cases, APTN National News has learned.

The RCMP was able to determine over a 1,000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women with the help other police forces across the country, according to a person with knowledge of the project, who asked not to be named because they’re not the official spokesperson on the project.

As part of this project, the RCMP reached out to over 200 police forces across the country to get a peek in their files to compile their statistics.

APTN was told the project was complete and the report’s release is being held up by the federal ministry of public safety Canada and was supposed to come out March 31.

However, RCMP Aboriginal policing Supt. Tyler Bates denied a report was done when contacted on his cellphone Wednesday afternoon but not the tally.

“There is no report as of yet that has been disseminated,” said Bates. “There will be a publicly available document down the road.”

When asked about the tally of over 1,000 Bates said he couldn’t confirm or deny any number.

“I’m not going to speak to a specific number to confirm or refute anything at this juncture,” he said. “I don’t have any comment right now. All I can tell you is there is work that remains ongoing.”

The purpose of the project was to give the RCMP clear data on the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women Bates told APTN in December.

The tally of over 1,000 cases would shatter anything officially compiled up until this point. The Native Women’s Association of Canada released a report in 2010 with nearly 600 cases.

Then just recently an Ottawa researcher said her work put the number at over 800.

The RCMP questioned NWAC’s numbers in the past, but, until the recent project, the federal force only tallied information from within its own files.

A call the public safety minister’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

– with APTN files

Dream catcher weaved in Halifax to honour souls of missing, murdered aboriginal women

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By Christine Bennett For Metro

April 16, 2014

Halifax community members gathered on Wednesday to weave a 10-foot dream catcher to honour missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre on Gottingen Street hosted the event with support from the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

They’re making 824 small dream catchers to hang off the large one, each of those representing one of the aboriginal women currently missing in Canada.

“A dream catcher is to help you have good dreams and take the bad dreams away, but in this case, those women who are missing, their dreams are gone,” said Debbie Eisan, who works at the centre. “We want to make sure that their dreams are not going to be forgotten and their lives won’t be forgotten.”

The purple ribbon on these dream catchers represents the missing woman, and the black bead represents the mourning of that woman.

The bead usually goes in the middle, but this time it’s at the bottom because there’s nothing to celebrate, Eisan said.

This idea came after the death of Loretta Saunders, an Inuit woman who was murdered in February while she was studying at Saint Mary’s University and writing her thesis on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Eisan is calling on the government to provide equal and fair treatment to aboriginal cases.

“I just want these cases to be treated with the same respect, importance, and dignity as they would any other missing and murdered woman,” she said.

Breaking: Via Rail blockade by First Nations halts Montreal-Toronto trains

A group of protesters have gathered at a railroad crossing near Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve to demand justice for murdered and missing indigenous women. (Photo: Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada)

A group of protesters have gathered at a railroad crossing near Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve to demand justice for murdered and missing indigenous women. (Photo: Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada)

March 19, 2014. Source: CBC News

Protesters near the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve in southern Ontario have blocked the Montreal-Toronto Via Rail line to draw attention to missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The blockade is at Marysville, Ont., between Belleville and Kingston.

Via Rail’s media relations manager Jacques C. Gagnon said Marysvilleis a popular site for railroad blockades.

“We had hints since late last night that there would be a blockade,” Gagnon said.

Train service between Montreal and Ottawa is still running. However, service between Toronto and Ottawa has been halted.

Trains travelling in the Montreal-Toronto corridor have been replaced by chartered buses.

Ontario Provincial Police in Smith Falls, Ont., have confirmed that Wyman Road/Highway 2 in Tyendinaga is also blocked.

Earlier this month, protesters from the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve blocked a highway over what they said was a lack of action on investigations into missing and murdered aboriginal women.