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Why Canada should abolish the Indian Act and reserve system

Paulson’s letter was viewed among advocates for an inquiry, whose pleas the Harper government has ignored for months, as an unsubtle plug for the status quo. But there is another way to view the statistic. If it can put to rest the simplistic fiction that violence against aboriginal women is mostly perpetrated by strangers, in contradiction of all the available evidence, then it is helpful.

For at the end of all the investigating there will still be this incontrovertible fact: Though aboriginal women make up just 4.3 per cent of the population, 718,500 individuals based on the 2011 National Household Survey, they accounted for 16 per cent of the 6,551 female homicides recorded in Canada between 1980 and 2012 (which is 32 per cent of total homicides over that period). These figures were highlighted in the RCMP’s report, Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, released in the spring of 2014.

Should a national public inquiry be convened to put a klieg light on the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women? Absolutely. But let there be no flinching from the result, wherever it may lead – even if that is a final indictment of the parlous reserve system itself, and a concerted push to abolish the…


 

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