Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada
Date Recorded: Oct 21st, 2004
Recorded At: St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB
Recorded By: Pierre Loiselle, Praxis Media
In March 2004, the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the ecumenical social justice network KAIROS launched the Sisters in Spirit campaign to draw attention to the high levels of violence faced by Indigenous women in Canada, especially the largely unacknowledged pattern of racialized sexualized violence faced by Indigenous women in Canadian cities.
Later that year, Amnesty International issued the report Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous Women in Canada. The report had three central themes:
· The role of racism and discrimination in fuelling acts of extreme brutality targeted against Indigenous women.
· How historic and continuing marginalization and impoverishment of Indigenous women has pushed many Indigenous women into unsafe environments
· The failure of the Canadian government and society to respond adequately to the frequency and seriousness of this violence, including by ensuring consistent, thorough investigation into reports of missing Indigenous women.
Beverley Jacobs was the lead researcher and consultant to Amnesty International on this report, and delivered the findings in this talk.
To download the complete Stolen Sisters report, go to http://www.amnesty.ca/campaigns/resources/amr2000304.pdf
Since this talk was delivered in 2004, the efforts of the Native Women’s association of Canada’s Sisters in Spirit campaign have built on the work of Amnesty International to raise awareness , demand acknowledgment, and encourage strategic initiatives to address violence against indigenous women in Canada. In an open letter to all candidates in the 2008 federal election, however, Amnesty International Secretary General Alex Neve, and Beverley Jacobs suggested that the initiatives to date fall far short of what is required to address the scale and severity of the violence faced by Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
Beverley Jacobs was born at Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario. She is a Mohawk citizen of Iroquois Confederacy, Bear Clan. In 2006, she was elected to serve a second term as the President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).
Ms. Jacobs is a lawyer by trade, and has taught as a professor at the University of Windsor, University of Toronto, University of Saskatchewan and Ryerson University.
In November 2008, Beverley Jacobs was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in commemoration of the Persons Case, which salutes Canadian contributions to the advancement of women’s equality. She is the mother of Ashley and Lukas and a grandmother of two.