The Smallest Steps

Ready to take your first step towards change?

Need Help Now?

If you or someone you know is being abused, please reach out to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

TOLL-FREE 1.866.863.0511
TOLL-FREE TTY 1.866.863.7868
#SAFE (#7233) On your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone

Indigenous women can also access the Hope For Wellness Helpline to access experienced and culturally competent counsellors: 1.855.242.3310 or the MMIWG support line: 1.844.413.6649.

Violence Against Indigenous Women

"Almost six in ten (56%) Indigenous women have experienced physical assault while almost half (46%) of Indigenous women have experienced sexual assault. In comparison, about a third of non-Indigenous women have experienced physical assault (34%) or sexual assault (33%) in their lifetime."

Violent victimization and perceptions of safety: Experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women in Canada (Heidinger, L., 2022)

Indigenous women face violence at excessive rates in Canada. This violence includes sexual assault, physical violence, intimate partner violence, family violence, mental and emotional abuse, and murder.

Statistics Canada shows that starting at the age of 15, Indigenous girls face 3.5% percent more violence than their non-indigenous peers. As adults, Indigenous women are 3.5% more likely to experience violence and 7% more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women (Heidinger, L., 2021). This alarmingly high percentage of violence is also reflected in the high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) around Canada.

Violence against Indigenous women is compounded by Canada’s history of colonialism. Not only have Indigenous women had to endure the subordinated role of “woman” in our patriarchal society, but they also experience both individual and systemic discrimination and racism due to colonial policies that have and continue to disenfranchise and oppress them. Indigenous communities and allies have worked hard to spread awareness about MMIWG and the rights of Indigenous women through campaigns such as the red dress movement or the red handprint.

Check out this video on violence against Indigenous women produced by Brock University:

Links and Resources on Violence Against Indigenous Women

How to Take Action

Get Involved

  • Host a screening of the documentary Highway of Tears
  • On May 5, which is Red Dress Day:
    • Share your learnings about MMIWG on social media using the hashtags #NoMoreStolenSisters, #MMIWG2S, #WhyWeWearRed and #RedDressDay;
    • Hang a red dress on your property to show support
    • Tie a red cotton strip of fabric somewhere visible on you or your property
  • Attend a Sisters in Spirit vigil on October 4.
  • Celebrate National Indigenous People’s History Month in June by learning about your local Indigenous communities. Don’t know on whose land you live? Check out Native-Land.ca to find out!
  • Complete Indigenous Canada, a 12-lesson free online course produced by the Faculty of Native Studies at University of Alberta.
  • Support events or workshops that your local Indigenous communities are holding

Activists and Organizations to Follow on Social Media

Instagram
@mmiwCanada
@mmiwg_awarenesss
@mmiwg2stakesbackcanada

Twitter
@MmiwMovement
@mmiwckss
@wewap

TikTok
@resilientinuk
@cas[er_19692.0

Contact your local MP about violence against women in Canada

Things to discuss:

  • Encourage MPs to include Indigenous voices in the action plans on ending violence against indigenous women and girls.
  • Tell them about the need to develop implementation plans for responding to the 231 Calls for Justice from the report on MMIWG. Demand that these plans can be adapted to ensure all Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people have access to the same level of services no matter where in Canada they live.
  • Require that politicians make timelines, implementation plans, monitoring and accountability tools, and reporting publicly available.
  • Ensure implementation plans specifically addresses forced and coerced sterilization, as called for by the UN Committee Against Torture.

To contact your local MPP or MP please use the links below:

Provincial Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)

https://www.ola.org/en/members/current

Federal Member of Parliament (MP) by postal code

https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en

The Following MPs are working in departments that can make changes or recommendations on this issue:

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
10 rue Wellington
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H4

Email – aadnc.infopubs.aandc[at]canada.ca
Twitter – @Carolyn_Bennett

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6
(No postage required!)

Phone: 1 613 996-4792
Email – patty.hajdu[at]parl.gc.ca
Twitter – @PattyHajdu
Facebook @PattyHajdu