This week, the body of Loretta Saunders, a 26-year-old Innuk student at St. Mary’s University in Halifax whose thesis focused on missing and murdered aboriginal women, was found near a New Brunswick highway. Her roommates are in custody and it is expected that they will face murder charges. Her thesis advisor, Darryl Leroux, has written a tribute to his student on Halifax Media Co-op.
What happened to Saunders fits in to a too-often-neglected narrative surrounding the disappearance and death of indigenous women in Canada. A fact sheet from the Native Women’s Association of Canada provides an important picture of the over 582 cases of missing women the association has gathered. Nearly half of these cases remain unsolved.
How can you help? Consider supporting some of these organizations, just four of many doing good work to help stop violence against women:
No More Stolen Sisters: Amnesty International Canada
A good factual overview of the systemic and societal problems contributing to violence with links to organizations.
Native Women’s Association of Canada
Mandate: “The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) works to advance the well-being of Aboriginal women and girls, as well as their families and communities through activism, policy analysis and advocacy.” Donate here.
Families of Sisters in Spirit
Location: Unceded Algonquin Territory in Ottawa
Mandate: “Families of Sisters in Spirit is a volunteer, grassroots, non-profit organization led by families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.”
Justice for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
Mandate: “Missing Justice is deeply action-based. Our goals are to raise public awareness and create a safer environment for Indigenous women by tackling issues of systemic racism, sexism, classism and negligence that are present in the media, the justice system and police forces. ”