Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: Remembering the Missing & Murdered Native Women in Canada

Article by Joseph Ames

          The film Finding Dawn is about the unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native women in Canada. It starts by covering the story of a missing Native woman who lived on the East Side of Vancouver, whose name is Dawn. She lived a troubled life growing up Native in white foster homes. She was abused sexually at a young age while living in a foster home. When Dawn grew older, she followed a difficult path in life leading her straight into prostitution and drugs. On the days of her last known appearance, she was living in East Vancouver, a neighborhood known for prostitution and drugs. Several other Native women were also living in that neighborhood. Dawn's last point of contact was her sister. Her sister knew that something had happened to Dawn when she could not get a hold of her. The family reported Dawn missing to the police department and awaited any news. The police did not find anything leading to Dawn.
The director of Finding Dawn, Christine Welsh, brings attention to the unsolved cases of missing Native women occurring in Canada. The film develops many questions regarding the issue at hand. Why are these Native women being targeted and kidnapped? Why haven't the police caught any suspects involved in these kidnappings? Why is the response time for investigating the kidnappings taking so long? This film creates a public awareness in order to stop these outrageous crimes from continuing to happen. The film has brought the Native communities together to fight what is taking place amongst their people.
Many Native women have been kidnapped off of Highway 16 across Canada and their stories remain a mystery. Highway 16 runs from east to west across some of the most beautiful mountainous terrain in the world. There are so many firebreak roads leading off of the highway and heading deep into the mountains; they can be hard to locate anyone traveling on them. Some family members believe that because of the race of the women missing, that they do not have priority for the police department to look into. The families state that if the victims missing were white, the investigation done by the police department would be more thorough and evidence could be found.
The Native community has set up an awareness day on February 14 in Vancouver, Canada for the missing women. On February 14, which is Valentine's Day, the Native communities gather and walk the streets of East Vancouver. The walk represents an awareness that the missing Native women will never be forgotten, or become a closed case. There is still hope in finding them.
The film Finding Dawn was a rude awakening for me. I had no idea that this was going on in Canada. With the large amount of women that have gone missing, it is hard to comprehend that no one has been caught. Hardly any evidence remains in regards to the missing women. The question still remains, why hasn't anyone been caught yet for the kidnappings of these Native women? It is a huge controversy and the families of the victims are looking for answers. It seems that Canada just leaves the investigations up to their local law enforcement of the area the kidnappings took place. I would like to further investigate into the missing Native women of Canada in the future, and hope to see some important evidence leading to the findings of the person(s) of these cruel acts. I would also like to see the missing Native women's bodies be accounted for with a proper burial.


Missing or murdered native women list grows to 582

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