Call a public inquiry into hundreds of missing and murdered Aboriginal women like my cousin Loretta Saunders
Petition by Holly Jarrett – Cornwall, Canada
Last month, my cousin Loretta Saunders was murdered at age 26. She was a student at St. Mary’s University in Halifax and was writing her honours thesis on the hundreds of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.
Our family is Inuit, and Loretta has now become one of the over 800 missing or murdered Aboriginal women she was fighting for. It is time for our government to address this epidemic of violence against Aboriginal women.
Last week, we broke down when we learned Loretta’s body had been found in a ditch beside the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick. Our family is gathering strength and we will not let her death be in vain. We will fight to complete Loretta’s unfinished work.
Please sign this petition and call on Federal Minister for the Status of Women Kellie Leitch to immediately call a public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. The Native Women’s Association of Canada and other groups have worked on this for years and I started this petition to support them and to demand justice for Loretta.
We need to know why it is that Aboriginal girls and women like Loretta are five to seven times more likely to die as a result of violence than non-Aboriginal women. This is what a public inquiry must address immediately so that action can be taken to stop these tragedies and protect aboriginal girls and women in Canada.
The Government has so far ignored calls for a public inquiry. If they don’t act the tragedies will continue. The epidemic of racist and sexist violence against Aboriginal women in Canada is claiming lives and devastating families each month.
It boils down to a simple question. Does the Canadian Government think it’s a problem that Aboriginal women are 5-7 times more likely to die from a violent attack? Right now, we don’t know. I’m praying that Loretta’s death and tens of thousands calling for the inquiry will finally move them to do the right thing.
I travelled from Labrador to St.Johns with Loretta when she left home. We talked about our Inuit roots, our family and our pasts and how we looked at our future as an opportunity to create change and different more healthy cycles and family patterns. We spoke about the topic of aboriginal women going missing and being killed. We joked about how she would change the world, but it wasn’t really a joke at all. Loretta HAS changed the world and. I’m determined that Loretta will continue to change the world.
Please sign this petition and demand justice for Loretta and all Aboriginal women.
As mentioned the Native Women’s Association of Canada has worked on this issue for years and has already collected 23,000 signatures calling for a public inquiry. Here is a link to their site as well as their document explaining in more detail why a public inquiry is needed.
SIGN HERE … www.change.org
Hon. Kellie Leitch, Minister for the Status of Women
Hon. Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Member of Parliament, St. Paul’s, Liberal Critic, Aboriginal Affairs
Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament, Churchill, Opposition Critic, Status of Women