Research Guide: Sources of information about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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This specialized research guide was prepared by the Departmental Library at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Its purpose is to compile relevant sources of information on the topic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. However, this guide does not represent an exhaustive list of all relevant information on this topic.

This guide contains links to sources of information available freely on the Web. These links are being provided as a library service and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by INAC of any product, service or opinion.

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within these sources is reliable and accurate, INAC assumes no responsibility for any errors and is not liable for damages of any kind resulting from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained herein.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact the Departmental Library's research desk at 819-997-0811 or reference@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca.

This website deals with topics which may cause trauma to readers due to its troubling subject matter. The Government of Canada recognizes the need for safety measures to minimize the risks associated with traumatic subject matter. A national, toll-free crisis call line has been set up to provide support for anyone who requires assistance. This line is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call 1-844-413-6649 if you or someone you know is triggered and needs help or support while reading the content on this website.

Books

Books available in the INAC Departmental Library

Those interested are welcome to borrow these INAC books through an interlibrary loan set up through their own office, public or school library.

Betty: the Helen Betty Osborne story
A dramatization of the murder of Helen Betty Osborne. Comic book by David Alexander Robertson and Scott B. Henderson (2015).
Conspiracy of silence
A narrative account of the murder of Helen Betty Osborne and the subsequent inquiry into her murder. By Lisa Priest (1989).
Dark legacy: systemic discrimination against Canada's First Peoples
This book examines the social marginalization of Native people, including their treatment by police and the justice system. The Highway of Tears and John Martin Crawford and Robert Pickton, serial killers who targeted Aboriginal women, are also discussed. By L.J. O'Connor and Morgan O'Neil (2010).
From truth to reconciliation: transforming the legacy of residential schools
Chapter 7 entitled "Legacy of residential schools: missing and murdered Aboriginal women". From the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (2008).
Hypatia: a journal of feminist philosophy - special issue: Indigenous women in the Americas
Includes articles entitled "Not an Indian tradition: the sexual colonization of Native People" by Andrea Smith and "The familiar face of genocide: internalized oppression among American Indians" by Lisa Poupart (2003).
Just another Indian: a serial killer and Canada's indifference
This book focuses on serial killer John Crawford and raises questions about racism in the police force and the media treatment of John Crawford and his victims. By Warren Goulding (2000).
Soeurs volées: enquête sur un féminicide au Canada [in French only]
This book is an account of the disappearance of two young women, Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander, teenagers from western Quebec, who have been missing since September 2008. By Emmanuelle Walter (2014).
Torn from our midst: voices of grief, healing and action from the Missing Indigenous Women Conference, 2008
Personal stories and theoretical tools are brought together as academics, activists, family members, police, media, policy-makers, justice workers, and members of faith communities offer their perspectives on the issue of racialized, sexualized violence in Canada and Mexico.

Other books

These books are not available in the INAC Departmental Library. Please contact your public, school, or office library for information on how to access them.

Conquest: sexual violence and American Indian genocide
This book discusses the connections between different forms of violence, perpetrated by the state and by society at large, and documents their impact on Native women. By Andrea Smith (2005).
On the farm: Robert William Pickton and the tragic story of Vancouver's missing women
This book provides details on Robert Pickton's history, the women he murdered and the criminal case against him, as it unfolded in two British Columbia courthouses. By Stevie Cameron (2010).
Stolen sisters: the story of two missing girls, their families and how Canada has failed Indigenous women
By Emmanuelle Walter (2015).
Weaving strength, weaving power: violence and abuse against Indigenous women
This book advances an interdisciplinary examination of multi-dimensional factors that have triggered structural disruption in First Nations communities. By Venida S Chenault (2011).

Articles, reports and theses

Journal articles

Gendered violence and politics in Indigenous communities
From the International Feminist Journal of Politics (2015).
Indigenous rights in western countries
From the Harvard International Review (2014).
Is Canada peaceful and safe for Aboriginal women?
From Canadian Woman Studies (2006).
Missing and murdered women: reproducing marginality in news discourse
From the Canadian Journal of Communication (2006).
Missing persons and social exclusion
From the Canadian Journal of Sociology (2012).
Person(s) of interest and missing women: legal abandonment in the downtown eastside
From the McGill Law Journal (2014).
Stolen sisters: a human rights response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada
From Canadian Woman Studies (2008).

Please contact your public, school, or office library for information on how to access the following articles.

  • Culhane, Dara. "Their spirits live within us: Aboriginal women in downtown eastside Vancouver emerging into visibility." American Indian Quarterly 27.3/4 (2003): 593-606.
  • Dean, Amber. "The CMHR and the ongoing crisis of murdered or missing Indigenous women: do museums have a responsibility to care?" Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies 37.2/3 (2015): 147-165.
  • Dickinson, Peter. "Murdered and missing women: performing Indigenous cultural memory in British Columbia and beyond." Theatre Survey 55.2 (2014): 202-232.
  • Eberts, Mary. "Knowing and unknowing: settler reflections on missing and murdered Indigenous women." Saskatchewan Law Review 77.1 (2014): 69-104.
  • García-Del Moral, Paulina. "Representation as a technology of violence: on the representation of the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women in Canada and women in Ciudad Juarez." Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies 36.72 (2011): 33-62.
  • Gilchrist, Kristen. "'Newsworthy' Victims?." Feminist Media Studies 10.4 (2010): 373-390.
  • Hargreaves, Allison. "Finding Dawn And Missing Women In Canada." Studies In American Indian Literatures 27.3 (2015): 82-111.
  • Masmoudi, Sakina. "Enquête des Nations unies sur la question des disparitions et des meurtres de femmes et de filles autochtones au Canada." Recherches amérindiennes au Québec 40.3 (2010): 100-103.

Reports

A collective voice for the victims who have been silenced: the Highway of Tears Symposium recommendations report
From Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, Carrier Sekani Family Services, Prince George Native Friendship Center & Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment & Training Association (2006).
A strategic framework to end violence against Aboriginal women
From the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres and the Ontario Native Women's Association (2007).
De Ciudad Juárez à l’Autoroute des larmes : ces femmes qu’on tue en toute impunit [in French only]
From the Aboriginal People Research and Knowledge Network and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique.
Final report: strengthening the circle to end violence against Aboriginal women
From the Summit III to End Violence against Aboriginal Women (2009).
Missing and murdered Indigenous women in British Columbia, Canada
From the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2014).
Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the committee on the elimination of discrimination against women
From the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (2015). Related document: Observations of the Government of Canada on the report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the committee on the elimination of discrimination against women.
Researched to death: BC Aboriginal women and violence: final report
From the Pacific Association of First Nations Women, the Ending Violence Association of BC, and the BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre (2005).
Review of reports and recommendations on violence against Indigenous women in Canada: master list of report recommendations organized by theme
From the Legal Strategy Coalition on Violence Against Indigenous Women (2015).
Summary of the policy forum on Aboriginal women and violence: building safe and healthy families and communities
From the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women (2006).
The tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada: we can do better
From the Vancouver Police Department (2011).
Violence against Aboriginal women strategy: research & assessment phase: synthesis report and identification of tools [INAC Library]
From the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (2004).
Voices of our sisters in spirit: a research and policy report to families and communities
From the Native Women's Association of Canada (2008). Also available in print at the INAC Library.
Voices of our sisters in spirit: a research and policy report to families and communities, 2nd edition
From the Native Women's Association of Canada (2009).
What their stories tell us: research findings from the Sisters In Spirit initiative
From the Native Women's Association of Canada (2010).

Theses

An awkward silence: missing and murdered vulnerable women and the Canadian justice system
PhD Thesis by Maryanne Pearce, University of Ottawa (2013).
Bio-power and death by culture: The em-bodiment of disposability. The femicides and disappearances of Aboriginal women in Canada and las Muertas de Juarez
M.A. Thesis by Paulina Garcia del Moral, Queen's University (2007).
Mediated complicity: sex work, the state and missing women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
M.A. Thesis by David Hugill, Trent University (2009).
More than just headlines: a critical examination of media response to missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada
M.A. research paper by Bhushna Singh, University of Ottawa (2015).
Violence and abuse against Indigenous women [INAC Library]
PhD Thesis by Venida S. Chenault, University of Kansas (2004).

Magazines and news sources

Please contact your public, school, or office library for information on how to access the following articles.

  • Cosh, Colby. "True Crimes, Faulty Statistics." Maclean's April 27, 2015.
  • "Feds should establish national inquiry into murdered, missing aboriginal women." The Hill Times June 1, 2014.
  • Macdonald, Nancy. "'It Could Have Been Me'." Maclean's 128.23 (2015): 19-32.
  • Mattern, Ashleigh. "Exhibit echoes call for missing women inquiry." Herizons Summer 2014: 6-7.
  • Nahwegahbow, Barb. "Ontario Chiefs To Undertake Independent Inquiry." Windspeaker 32.5 (2014): 13-17.
  • Narine, Shari. "Families Disappointed In Missing/Murdered Women Report." Windspeaker 32.1 (2014): 8.
  • Payton, Laura. "'Stop This National Tragedy’." Maclean's 128.51/52 (2016): 10-11.
  • Stevenson, Garth. "The Strange Case of the Missing Aboriginal Women." Inroads Summer 2015: 31-8.
  • Talaga, Tanya, Jim Rankin and David Bruser. "Definitions can change murder picture." Toronto Star Decembre 17, 2015.
  • Talaga, Tanya. "Chiefs call for more data on murdered women." Toronto Star April 2, 2015.
  • Taylor, Drew Hayden. "The Story Of MMIW Needs A Third Act." Windspeaker 32.11 (2015): 6.

Websites

Government of Canada websites

Canada's Missing
The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR).
Department of Justice
Contains reports and Publications on the subject of Aboriginal communities.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
The INAC website contains the latest updates about the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, including meeting summaries, fact sheets and official statements.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Contains the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Public Safety Canada
Contains publications and reports on Aboriginal policing, Aboriginal corrections, and crime prevention. Select "Filter items by topic".
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The RCMP website contains information about the National Aboriginal Policing Services, the Sisters In Spirit Initiative, the 2014 National Operational Overview of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, as well as the 2015 update to this report, and more.
Status of Women Canada
Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls.

Provincial and territorial websites

Ministry of Indigenous Relations - Aboriginal women
From the Government of Alberta.
Department of Status of Women - Aboriginal women and violence
From the Government of Alberta.
Minister's Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women
From the Government of British Columbia.
The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry
From the Government of British Columbia. The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was created in 2010 to consider the police investigations into women reported missing from the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, the events leading up to the arrest and conviction of Robert W. Pickton and a broader examination of the manner in which cases involving missing Aboriginal women are investigated. The archived website includes the hearing transcripts, terms of reference, final reports and more. Related resource: The B.C. Ministry of Justice website has status update reports on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry as well as information on the Missing Women Compensation Fund.
The Missing Women Working Group
From the Government of British Columbia.
Manitoba Family Services - Aboriginal women and family violence
From the Government of Manitoba.
The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission
From the Government of Manitoba. The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission was created in 1999 in response to the murder of Helen Betty Osborne and the death of J.J. Harper. The Commission released its final report in 2001. The archived website includes consultation papers, terms of reference, quarterly reports and the final report.
Women's Policy Office - Aboriginal Women
From the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ontario Women's Directorate - ending violence against Aboriginal women
From the Government of Ontario. Contains information about the Joint Working Group on Violence Against Aboriginal Women.
Secrétariat à la condition féminine - Autochtones
From the Government of Québec.
Women's Directorate
From the Government of Yukon.

Other websites

Aboriginal Healing Foundation
The archived website of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation containing a series of research publications and other documents.
Amnesty International: No More Stolen Sisters
This websites includes a News and Analysis section, as well as reports by Amnesty International.
Assembly of First Nations - Ending Violence
Contains AFN reports and information about forums and other activities led by AFN on the issue of MMIWG.
Dossier sur les femmes autochtones disparues ou assassinées [in French only]
By Radio-Canada.
The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada
The website contains research publications, information sheets and an annotated database on Aboriginal children, youth and families.
Missing & Murdered - Unsolved cases of Indigenous women and girls
By CBC News.
Native Women's Association Canada (NWAC)
Contains information on NWAC projects as well as fact sheets, newsletters, a Violence Prevention Toolkit, and more.
Ontario Native Women's Association resources
Contains resources such as reports, toolkits, fact sheets, and program brochures.
Pauktuutit - Inuit Women of Canada
Contains information and resources on projects and issues related to Inuit women.

Government publications

Federal government

A review of research on criminal victimization and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, 1990 to 2001
From the Department of Justice (2006).
Ending violence against aboriginal women and girls: empowerment, a new beginning
From the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (2011). Also available in print at the INAC Library.
Interim report, call into the night: an overview of violence against Aboriginal women
From the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (2011). Also available in print at the INAC Library.
Invisible women: a call to action
From the House of Commons Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women (2014). Also available in print at the INAC Library.
Missing and murdered Aboriginal women: a mational operational overview
From the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (2014). Related document: Missing and murdered Aboriginal women: 2015 update to the national operational overview

Provincial governments

A framework for action in education, economic development and violence against Aboriginal women and girls
From the British Columbia Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (2010).
A strategic framework to end violence against Wabanaki women in New Brunswick
From the Government of New Brunswick (2008).
A Vision for a violence free BC: addressing violence against women in British Columbia
From the Government of British Columbia (2015).
FPT justice framework to address violence against Indigenous women and girls
Report by Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety (2016).
Stopping violence against Aboriginal women: a summary of root causes, vulnerabilities and recommendations from key literature
From the British Columbia Ministry of Citizens' Services (2011).

Statistics

Aboriginal statistics at a glance
From Statistics Canada. Provides a thematic guide to Aboriginal statistics, including sections on justice and victimization. (Published in 2010 & 2015).
Aboriginal women in Canada: a statistical profile from the 2006 Census
From Statistics Canada. Provides general demographic data on Aboriginal women. (Published in 2012).
First Nations, Métis and Inuit women - a gender-based statistical report
From Statistics Canada. Provides detailed statistics, including sections on missing and murdered Aboriginal women and spousal violence. (Published in 2011).
Homicide in Canada, 2014
From Juristat, an ongoing publication of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada. Includes a section on Aboriginal female victims of homicide. (Published in 2015).
Measuring violence against women - statistical trends
From Statistics Canada and commissioned by Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministries responsible for the Status of Women. (Published in 2013).
Report on equality rights of Aboriginal people
From the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Includes statistics on domestic violence, violent crimes and the justice system. (Published in 2013).
Victimization and offending among the Aboriginal population in Canada
From Juristat, an ongoing publication of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada. (Published in 2006).
Violent victimization of Aboriginal women in the Canadian provinces, 2009
From Juristat, an ongoing publication of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada. (Published in 2011).

Bibliographies

A literature review and annotated bibliography focusing on aspects of Aboriginal child welfare in Canada, 2nd edition
From the First Nations Research Site of the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare and The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (2005).
A select and annotated bibliography regarding bill C-31, Indian registration and band membership, Aboriginal identity, women and gender issues
Published under the authority of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (2005).
Annotated bibliography of Aboriginal women's health and healing research
Commissioned by the Aboriginal Women's Health and Healing Research Group (2005).
Autochtonia Documentary Databank - A Short Bibliography – Aboriginal Women
From the Aboriginal People Research and Knowledge Network (2011).

Audiovisual material

Finding Dawn [INAC Library]
This documentary examines the historical, social and economic factors that contribute to the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women. (2006)
Highway of Tears
Documentary examining missing and murdered women along a 724 kilometer stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. (2015)
The spirit of Annie Mae [INAC Library]
This documentary examines the brutal 1975 murder of Annie Mae Pictu Aquash, a 30-year-old Nova Scotia born Mi'kmaw, which still remains a mystery three decades later. (2002)

Related topics

Those interested are welcome to borrow these INAC books through an interlibrary loan set up through their own office, public or school library.

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Aboriginal domestic violence in Canada
Report from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (2003).
Aboriginal women and family violence
Report from the Public Health Agency of Canada (2008). Also available in print at the INAC Library.
Action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against Aboriginal women and girls
Report from Status of Women Canada (2014).
Black eyes all of the time: intimate violence, Aboriginal women, and the justice system [INAC Library]
This book draws on the experiences and views of women affected by violence to analyze how the pervasive cycle of violence evolved and suggests possible solutions involving both the Canadian justice system and Aboriginal traditions. By Anne McGillivray and Brenda Comaskey (1999).
National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence
A website dedicated to reducing family violence in Aboriginal communities by supporting the people on the front lines.
Pour une meilleure compréhension des particularités de la violence familiale vécue par les femmes autochtones au Canada
Article from Nouvelles pratiques sociales (2010).
The contribution of socio-economic position to the excesses of violence and intimate partner violence among Aboriginal versus non-aboriginal women in Canada
Article from the Canadian Journal of Public Health (2013).
The Healing Journey
A website dedicated to family violence prevention in Aboriginal communities.
Violence against Aboriginal women: scan and report
Report from the Canadian Women's Foundation (2011).
Violence against women: new Canadian perspectives [INAC Library]
This book includes an article entitled "Violence in Aboriginal communities" (p.147-162) by Emma LaRocque (2002).

Please contact your public, school, or office library for information on how to access the following articles.

  • Brownridge, Douglas A. "Understanding the elevated risk of partner violence against Aboriginal women: a comparison of two nationally representative surveys of Canada." Journal Of Family Violence 23.5 (2008): 353-367.
  • Ellington, Lisa, Renée Brassard, and Lyse Montminy. "Diversity of roles played by Aboriginal men in domestic violence in Quebec." International Journal Of Men's Health 14.3 (2015): 287-300.
  • Riel, Ellissa, et al. "Safety for Aboriginal women in couples counseling where there is a history of intimate partner violence." Journal Of Offender Rehabilitation 53.6 (2014): 478-500.

Human trafficking

BC's action plan to combat human trafficking
Report from the Government of British Columbia (2013).
Colonial exploitation: the Canadian state and the trafficking of Indigenous women and girls in Canada
Article from the UCLA Law Review (2015).
Domestic sex trafficking of Aboriginal girls in Canada: issues and implications
Article from the First Peoples Child & Family Review (2007).
Sexual exploitation and trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls: literature review and key informant interviews: final report
Report from the Native Women's Association of Canada (2014).
Trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls
Report from the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre (2014).
Trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada
Report from the Institute on Governance (2009). Also available in print at the INAC Library.

Aboriginal persons and the justice system

Arctic justice: on trial for murder, Pond Inlet, 1923 [INAC Library]
Book by Shelagh D. Grant (2002).
Bad judgment: the myths of First Nations equality and judicial independence in Canada [INAC Library]
Book by John Reilly (2014).
British law and Arctic men: the celebrated 1917 murder trials of Sinnisiak and Uluksuk, first Inuit tried under white man's law [INAC Library]
Book by R. G. Moyles (1989).
Cowboys and Indians: the shooting of J.J. Harper [INAC Library]
Book by Gordon Sinclair (1999).
Judgement at Stoney Creek [INAC Library]
This book details the inquest into the death of Coreen Thomas, a young Native woman in her ninth month of pregnancy, who was hit by a car and the discrimination faced by Aboriginal people in the justice system. By Bridget Moran (1990).
Justice denied: the law versus Donald Marshall [INAC Library]
Book by Michael Harris (1990).
Legacy of hope: an agenda for change
Report by the Government of Saskatchewan - Final Report from the Commission on First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform (2004).
Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr. Prosecution [INAC Library]
Donald Marshall Jr. was a Mi'kmaq man who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1971 and acquitted in 1983. The INAC Library has all 7 publications released by the Commission. To find these reports in the Virtua Catalogue, search for "Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr., Prosecution". The Nova Scotia Department of Justice website offers the electronic version of the Digest of Findings and Recommendations.
The trial of Leonard Peltier [INAC Library]
Book by Jim Messerschmidt (1983).

Other related topics

Aboriginal women's initiative literature review: a review of the literature on intergenerational trauma, mental health, violence against women, addictions and homelessness among Aboriginal women of the North
Report from YWCA Canada (2011).
Globalization as racialized, sexualized violence
Article from International Feminist Journal of Politics (2008).
Living well: Aboriginal women, cultural identity and wellness
Report from the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (2004).
REDressing invisibility and marking violence against Indigenous women in the Americas through art, activism and advocacy
Article from the First Peoples Child & Family Review (2012).
Restoring the balance: First Nations women, community, and culture [INAC Library]
This book combines life histories and biographical accounts with historical and critical analyses of the challenges and successes aboriginal women have had in the areas of law, politics, education, community healing, language, and art. (2009).
Unearthing resistance: Aboriginal women in the Lord Selkirk Park housing developments
Report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (2007).
Urban Aboriginal women and mental health
Report from the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (2010).
We are courageous and we are healing ourselves: collaboration to end violence: national Aboriginal women's forum: report on outcomes and recommendations from working sessions
Report from the Native Women's Association of Canada (2011).
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