Wet’Suwet’en Hereditary Chief Namoks responded to the new RCMP report on missing and murdered Aboriginal women today.
Namoks says it’s shocking to see that while Aboriginal women make up only 4.3 per cent of the population they account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women reports.
“It’s better that they are working harder at it. It’s not just a number and then put away. I also like the fact that they are putting a human face on it. You know, these are people’s children, they are mothers, they are aunts and before they were basically spoken about as just a number.”
The report says the solve rate for Aboriginal female cases versus non-aboriginal female cases is almost identical at 88 versus 89 per cent, but Namoks says that isn’t as surprising as the high percentage of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
He says the RCMP total figure of 1,181 missing or murdered Aboriginal women since the early 1950’s is potentially quite low due to what he says was ‘minimalization of the numbers’ in previous decades.
“Say a decade, two decades ago, I don’t think they put the true numbers out there. This year looks more close to what we have seen but I know originally they had kept the numbers quite low and I think it was public pressure that got them to dig deeper.”
The report does note higher incidents of alcohol and drug abuse, unemployment and previous criminal activity rates among the Aboriginal women which Namoks says is a sign that things need to change in the communities.
He says initiatives, such as a public transportation system along the Highway of Tears, need to be implemented to reduce the rate of violence against marginalized women, not just recommended and then put on a shelf.