Canada's failure to protect Indigenous women ignites rage, disgust
The brutal murder of four women has sparked outrage over politicians' failure to keep their promise to protect Indigenous women and girls.
The arrest of an alleged serial killer who targeted Indigenous women in central Canada has sparked new outrage and despair that the North American nation has yet again failed to protect vulnerable women and girls.
Police in Winnipeg announced late Thursday that Jeremy Skibicki, 35, had been charged with the murders of Morgan Beatrice Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26, of Long Plain First Nation, months after he was charged with the murder of Rebecca Contois, 24, of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation.
Skibicki was also charged with the murder of a fourth, unidentified victim, who is thought to be Indigenous. The bodies of the three most recent alleged victims have yet to be discovered.
A candlelight vigil was held in Winnipeg on Thursday evening outside Skibicki’s home as families grieved the loss of mothers, daughters, and a grandmother.
The Manitoba shadow justice minister Nahanni Fontaine expressed “rage, despair, disgust and unspeakable sadness” on Twitter, following the arrest of a “monster” who had stalked the community.
“When will the protection of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited be taken seriously? Winnipeg now has the distinction of having two separate serial killers of Indigenous women. Are we waiting for a third or fourth to rear their murderous heads?”
Failure of political leaders
The failure of political leaders to keep promises to combat decades of violence against Indigenous women exacerbated some people's grief.
Over the last 30 years, an estimated 4,000 Indigenous women and girls have been killed or disappeared in Canada, though the true number of victims is unlikely to be known.
“We have failed you. We will fail you no longer,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told families in 2019, following a landmark report that concluded “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies” were a key driving force in the disappearance of thousands of Indigenous women.
According to the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls report, Indigenous women are six times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be murdered.
“It’s always unsettling whenever there is any kind of a serial killing,” Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth told reporters.