A few stories this weekend on the issues of Native women’s safety around the world:
Canada’s Missing Women Inquiry faces renewed community boycott
Marlene George, with the Women's Memorial March Committee, addresses the April 10 press conference. (Photo by David P. Ball , courtesy of ICTMN)
Calling the British Columbian government’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry a sham, human rights and women’s advocates groups in Canada are making continued calls for government-led efforts that will bring real change.
David P. Ball of ICTMN has the story:
Citing the province’s refusal to fund legal representation or extend the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry’s June deadline, 15 organizations rejected pleas to rejoin the hearings.
“We get one shot at a public inquiry, and the way it’s being conducted right now, it’s turning out to be a sham,” women’s advocate Marlene George told a press conference on April 9 on behalf of the Women’s Memorial March Committee, which organizes an annual rally to honour Canada’s 600 missing or murdered aboriginal women, among them victims of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton.
. . .
The inquiry “continues to lose relevance and credibility,” groups stated, vowing to support a United Nations investigation announced last December.
“It has become painfully clear over the course of the inquiry’s proceedings that this inquiry is not a meaningful and inclusive process,” the groups wrote. “The commission appears woefully out of touch with how it may be replicating the exact exclusion and discrimination that led to this inquiry being called in the first place. The commission has lost all credibility among aboriginal, sex work, human rights and women’s organizations.”
Here’s an earlier story from ICTMN on the Assembly of First Nations has officially pulled out of the British Columbia Missing Women of Inquiry Commission’s hearing procedures.
Tribal health centers offer self-defense classes in oil boom areas
The recent violent death of a longtime teacher in northeast Montana has many women worried about the effects of the oil boom there will have on their safety. As more and more oil field workers are moving into the Fork Peck Reservation area, health agencies are coming together to offer self-defense classes for women, the Great Falls Tribune reports.
Several dozen women from the Poplar area practice self defense moves during a workshop Wednesday sponsored by Northeast Montana Health Services. (Photo courtesy of: TRIBUNE PHOTO/RICH PETERSON)
GFT reporter Richard Peterson has the story:
The Fort Peck Tribal Health Department will hold self-defense courses Wednesday and Thursday in Brockton, and April 25 – 26 in Fort Kipp.
Adrian Spotted Bird, injury prevention coordinator for the Tribal Health Department, said the workshops were organized after numerous women from the reservation communities of Brockton and Fort Kipp started asking for more police patrols in the area because of increased oilfield traffic. In the past five months, the tribes have started drilling for oil near both communities. More than a dozen more oil rigs are expected to go up there this summer.
“People are noticing more and more new faces, and they’re getting concerned,” Spotted Bird said. Some oil industry workers, who have been blackballed at bars in Williston, come to area bars to drink, he said. That’s also cause for concern among local residents.
The classes are kept small, about 10 people each, and offer attendees a battle of mace and a whistle, Peterson’s story said.