‘Am I Next?’ Indigenous Women in Canada Ask Social Media

Holly Jarrett/FacebookHolly Jarrett, cousin of murdered Inuit university student Loretta Saunders, has begun a social media campaign to push for a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

Holly Jarrett/Facebook
Holly Jarrett, cousin of murdered Inuit university student Loretta Saunders, has begun a social media campaign to push for a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

 

 

It’s the heartbreaking question of our time, at least in Canada, where indigenous women have begun a social media campaign to draw attention to the prevalence of violence against them.

The movement was started by Holly Jarrett of Hamilton, Ontario, according to CBC News. Jarret is a cousin of Loretta Saunders, a grad student at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia who was murdered earlier this year, allegedly by her tenants when she went to collect rent. The 26-year-old, pregnant Saunders had been researching the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada—more than 1,200 unsolved cases over the past few decades, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)—for her thesis when she went missing herself.

Most recently, across the country in Manitoba, the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg in August, wrapped in a bag. The homicide investigation is ongoing.

RELATED: Vigil for Murdered Teen and Homeless Hero Draws 1,300 Mourners in Winnipeg

The call was raised once again for a national inquiry into the issue. Soon after Fontaine’s remains were found, the premiers of all the provinces met with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and came out advocating for a roundtable. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long held that an inquiry would not yield any answers and thus was not the way to go.

It’s not just First Nations calling for such an inquiry. President Terry Audla is also advocating for an inquiry, as is Métis National Council President Clément Chartier. Both also attended the meeting with premiers. The premiers as well support the roundtable idea—a meeting with federal ministers to discuss the issue, according to CBC News—and aboriginal leaders have agreed to that as a first step.

Meanwhile across Canada, women are posting selfies of them holding signs bearing the slogan “Am I Next?” and posting them to social media under the #AmINext hashtag, as CTV News reported. There is also a petition at Change.org calling for an inquiry, started as well by Jarrett.

“Our family is Inuit, and Loretta has now become one of the over 1186 missing or murdered Aboriginal women she was fighting for,” wrote Jarrett on Change.org. “It is time for our government to address this epidemic of violence against Aboriginal women. Our family is gathering strength and we will not let her death be in vain. We will fight to complete Loretta’s unfinished work.”

RELATED: ‘Not in Vain’: Family Vows to Finish Murdered Inuit Student’s Research on Violence

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/09/am-i-next-indigenous-women-canada-ask-social-media-156814

Teens Murder for Fun; Smash Heads of Homeless Men with Cinder Blocks

Courtesy Albuquerque Police DepartmentAlex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

Courtesy Albuquerque Police Department
Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

 

Alysa Landry, 7/24/14, Indian Country Today

 

Navajo President Ben Shelly is calling for answers in the gruesome murders of two homeless Navajo men last weekend in Albuquerque.

The victims, whose names have not yet been released, were beaten so brutally with a cinder block and other objects that they were unrecognizable. Their bodies, one lying on a mattress and one on the ground, were found Saturday morning in an open field in northwest Albuquerque.

Three teenagers, Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are each being charged with two open counts of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. The teens likely will be tried as adults and all could face life in prison.

During their first appearance in court Monday, bail was set at $5 million for each of them. But even with suspects behind bars, New Mexico’s largest city and the neighboring Navajo Nation are still reeling from the attack.

President Shelly has requested a meeting with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, during which he hopes to discuss ways to assist the city’s homeless population. The teens charged in the murders claimed to have attacked as many as 50 other homeless people during the past year, according to court records.

“Innocent men do not deserve to be murdered in their sleep,” Shelly said in a press release. “It’s beyond senseless that these teens would attack homeless people in this manner.”

The Albuquerque Police Department, which is under federal Justice Department scrutiny because of its high number of officer-related shootings – including a March incident during which an officer shot and killed a homeless Native man – was appalled by the violence of the recent attack, spokesman Simon Drobik said.

RELATED: What the Hell Is Wrong With Albuquerque Cops?

RELATED: Recent Police Shootings in Albuquerque Draw Federal Investigation

“My stomach turns when I think about it,” he said. “When all you know is that two people are dead and juveniles are in custody, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. It was such a heinous crime and the nature of violence was so traumatic.”

The teens told police that they went out after a party looking for “someone to beat up,” according to the criminal complaint. Tafoya reportedly was upset because he recently broke up with a longtime girlfriend.

They tied black T-shirts around their faces in an attempt to conceal their identities then walked to a field near two of the teens’ homes, where they found three subjects sleeping on mattresses. One of the victims managed to run away, but the teens repeatedly beat the other two men with their hands and feet, as well as cinder blocks, wooden sticks and a metal fence post.

According to Tafoya’s statement to police, the teens “took turns picking cinder blocks over their heads and smashing them into the male subjects’ faces.” Tafoya admitted to using the cinder block as a weapon more than 10 times.

Drobik called the case “specifically brutal” because it involves two vulnerable populations: teenagers and homeless.

“Kids are killing transients,” he said. “My initial response was: who failed these kids? How did they get to this point in life where they thought this was an acceptable thing to do? It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.”

The victims’ bodies were transported to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. A spokeswoman for that office confirmed the men were Native, but declined to release their names. It could take up to 90 days for autopsy reports to be complete, she said.

 

Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)
Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)

 

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/24/kids-are-killing-transients-brutal-murder-teens-two-navajo-men-156034