Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

MKO is committed to working along side with families, communities and leadership towards ensuring the upcoming national inquiry is inclusive of our northern communities. We are also working with the federal government to support immediate actions aimed at addressing a root causes that result in violence against Indigenous women and girls.

There is no greater pain then not knowing what has happened to a loved one.  Unfortunately, this is all to common in the Indigenous community where the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch has noted a crisis level of violence against Indigenous women and girls.  In fact, the new Liberal government has noted that the amount of Murdered and Missing women could be higher then 4000 victims. Many of these cases have not been solved.  What is even more alarming is that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations have noted that the government has failed in ensuring that Indigenous women and girls are provided with the same standard of safety as experienced by other Canadians. This has been acknowledged by the current Liberal government who will be launching a National Inquiry as early as July to explore issues that have resulted in our current crisis.

MKO leadership is committed to supporting the efforts of our northern families in their search for answers. We recognize that our families cannot rest until they know what has happened to their loved ones. As such, addressing the issue of the MMIW is one of the key priority areas of MKO. It is our hope that this will result in a realization of programs and services that support a reduction in violence experiencing by Indigenous women and girls in the future.

Documentary ​1200+

In August 2014 Canadians were shocked when the body of a young teenager, Tina Fontaine, washed up onto the banks of the Red River. The media attention that accompanied this discovery galvanized an awareness in Canada of an all too common phenomena: Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW). Moved by what I had read in the papers, I took my camera to the banks of the Red River where an ad hoc group of local Native peoples were dragging the Red River search for missing loved ones. It was there that I met TV journalist, Sheila North Wilson, a Cree woman from the Oxford House First Nation, who has championed this issue of MMIW for many years. Together we decided to produce a film that would try to answer the haunting question: “Why have so many young Indigenous people been murdered or gone missing.  And why has this met with such indifference in Canada?”

In October of 2014 we started shooting and over the winter edited the footage into a 30 minute first segment of the proposed full length feature film which we are calling 1200+. Both Sheila and I have fully funded this project up to its present state without any outside resources. We are now looking to finance the completion of this project.

We feel it is crucial to complete this film and present it to a wide audience. So much has happened since we started this project in October. Recent media attention of MMIW and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have created an awareness in Canada and abroad to the issues of Canadian Aboriginal peoples. This continued awareness is crucial if we are to find solutions to these issues. It is unfortunate that the death of a young girl was needed to stir the hearts and minds of a broader Canadian public, but media attention is what is needed so that changes can occur at all levels and progress toward solutions continues.

The first segment of 1200+ already produced is an expression of the problems facing First Nation Peoples. Going forward the film must answer the questions: Why?, What are the root causes and what are the solutions? To examine these questions the film will look at the history that created so many social ills; the terrible price that the Indigenous peoples of Canada have paid for colonization; the price of broken treaties, land grabs, and a residential school system that attempted to destroy a culture. The film will document and dramatize personal stories of both the victims and perpetrators which in spite of the effects of a genocide both cultural and actual has not diminished the grandeur and accomplishments of our native peoples.

The film is seen through the eyes of investigative reporter Sheila North Wilson who has made it her passion to get to the bottom of MMIW. She examines how and why these women go missing and draws on the similarities of their circumstances. Sheila is a woman who knows many of the families of MMIW in Winnipeg, where the problem is one of the worst in the country. She is an Indigenous woman who grew up on a First Nation reserve and moved to the city as a teenager. She knows what it’s like to be nearly taken off the streets by strangers and feels compelled to tell the stories of MMIW.