Letter to the Editor: Column on MMIWG hurtful and reckless
- Iskwewuk Ewichiwitochik (Women Walking Together) | September 16, 2016
Re: The Dashing Chronicles EFN August 2016 Issue
“Who’s doing the most of the damage? Its boyfriends and husbands” page 12 #MMIWG
This letter to Eagle Feather News is to address the one of the misconceptions and myths about who are committing crimes against indigenous women and girls on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. According to columnist Winston McLean in the August issue he makes reference to indigenous men as being the ones responsible for those cases that have missing, missing-then-found-murdered by people in our own communities.
The previous Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Bernard Valcourt made similar remarks stating ‘lack of respect for women and girls on reserves’, to the outrage of our leaders around the country and the flawed RCMP Report, yet its true to some degree that some of our indigenous brothers have behaved with violence but how do we as indigenous nations reconcile non-indigenous serial killers that targeted our sisters, Shawn Lamb, Robert Pickton, Bobby Jack Fowler, and John Crawford to name a few ~ I recall don’t have treaty status, or membership in any First Nations band in Canada. Needless to say McLean’s off the cuff tomfoolery is way off from being correct.
As our group read the issue of August upon our co-leaders of Iskwewuk Ewichiwitochik (Women Walking Together) return from Ottawa on August 3, 2016 to attend the Launch and we read first six pages cover the launch of the National Inquiry with pride – only to be appalled by the attempt to simplify and make joke of the serious experiences families experience in MMIWG at the latter pages of this August issue.
It was hurtful, discouraging, deflating, and basically reckless to have the Editor go along with reviewing, authorizing, and publishing this particular piece. It comes at a time where our current Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Carolyn Bennett relies on the leadership of the Saskatchewan families, concerned citizen groups, and indigenous governments that worked hard the last decade to address and make sense of the ongoing tragedy. Let’s not make a mockery of that headway.
We hope that in future issues of EFN as the National Inquiry begins its work and the face to face visits with communities that the Commissioners don’t have to pick up a local newspaper to find these kinds of incorrect sentiments. In addition the upcoming Reconciliation and the Media to be held at the U of S on October 4 and 6, 2016 will ensure that even indigenous columnists and journalists look inward to their own practices of writing that requires fact finding and sincere research on this issue.