An indigenous organization has been able to find in the archives more than a hundred indigenous women murdered in Quebec between 1980 and 2012, more than double the RCMP.
“The police don’t care! As if there was no urgency. This is an indigenous organization that needs to hire someone to find out the numbers, “lamented Janice Cavavouc-Vibeu, research coordinator at Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal.
For nearly three years, the latter has been collecting testimonials from the family through the current database, newspaper articles of the time, and to get an accurate picture of the situation.
In 2014, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Statistics Canada calculated that 46 Indigenous women were killed in the province between 1980 and 2012. These are the most up-to-date statistics
Apart from her part, Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau has reached out to more than a hundred women who were murdered at the same time. This number continues to grow as his research progresses.
How can such discrimination be explained?
When a murder occurs, the police check whether the report is “native” or not. It’s problematic because they judge. “See other text)
From a long time
But its database covers much more time than the RCMP report, and goes back to the beginning of the colony to this day. It currently has 201 names.
“Quebecers are not aware of the number of victims here, they think it only happens in British Columbia,” said Nakuset Drop, director of the Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal.
“We all know Cedrica Provenচারal or Julie Serpent. But Tera Fe Jolly was killed at the age of 18 [à Waskaganish, dans le Nord-du-Québec, en 2009] ? No one knows who it is, “added Janice Cavavouk-Bibu.
Not to forget
During her research, the 26-year-old woman further realized that many of these women had fallen into oblivion, even within their community.
So he is thinking of creating an interactive map to tell their story. “I just want to give a voice to women who have never had one,” said the researcher.
His own grandmother is also among the sad figures. “Really, really, Nunavi has a lot of murdered women,” he sighed.
As evidence, Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau describes a recent encounter with two other Inuit women visiting Montreal.
“There were three of us, from different communities [nordiques]. And one of the three of us was a family member in my database. It really shocked me, “she lamented.
It is impossible to get a picture of the situation
Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police acknowledges the difficulties of compiling statistics on the disappearance or murder of Indigenous women in Canada.
“It is difficult for a police officer to determine a person’s race based on their perceptions, as this can lead to incomplete and inaccurate results,” a 2014 report said.
For example, some may rely solely on the victim’s last name or skin color to determine their origin.
The RCMP further noted that different police forces are not based on the same criteria – Indian status, impression of a police officer, information from relatives, etc. – which complicates the compilation.
This same report suggests that 46 indigenous women were killed in Quebec between 1980 and 2012, a statistic that would be greatly underestimated (See other text)
The journal has tried to get more up-to-date statistics without success.
“The RCMP has no mandate to study such statistics or has no budget to do so,” wrote a spokesman who instructed us to table our statistics from Canada.
Nakuset, director of the Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal, sees this as “an institutional and systematic ignorance” that contributes to reducing the level of problem.
“We’re really under the totem in terms of police priorities,” he scolded.
Sûreté du Québec did not answer our questions when we went to the press.
Under the radar
Be aware of its difficulties Log To get an official picture of the situation, the Quebec Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenier, acknowledged that “the arrangement did not fit the demands.”
“It’s not about bad intentions, it’s about lack of resources,” he said.
He recognized in the same breath that some of the killings of indigenous women could fall under the radar of the authorities and could not be counted as such.
In 2019, a national investigation into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls indicates that available data was often incomplete in Quebec, “which prevents[ait] Draw a fair picture of the situation.