Girl Gang Professional Development Society Statement in Solidarity with the Families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
VANCOUVER, BC, UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORY – On this day, December 6 is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Girl Gang Professional Development Society (GG) and its members call on federal and provincial leaders to take urgent and meaningful action on the calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The consistent and prolonged lack of attention by governments to the ongoing violence against Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People, as well as the rise of far-right targeting of marginalized communities, has resulted in horrifying consequences.
According to the The Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG (pg 13), Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other women in Canada. The report states (pg 85), “we are not investigating a past wrong, but one that is still ongoing and that is getting worse. Acts of violence stemming from the structures of colonization and coupled with racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia are not few and far between, but pervasive, immediate, and urgent. However, this violence is also preventable—if Canadians are willing to change.”
Yet, as was recently announced, families are in mourning for four women murdered on these lands we call Canada, in Winnipeg, Treaty No. 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and Homeland of the Métis Nation. The lives of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Beatrice Harris, Marcedes Myran, and an unidentified woman being referred to as Buffalo Woman (by the request of elders) were allegedly taken by Jeremy Anthony Michael Skibicki, a known member of the extremist far-right. A review of alleged murderer Skibicki’s social media presence indicates that he held violent, antisemitic, misogynistic and white supremacist beliefs.
Skibicki was charged with these murders in the middle of the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign that kicked off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
We stand firmly with the families, friends and communities who are mourning these women and all other families, advocates and communities of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.
The continued and active exclusion of Indigenous women and girls from many of the basic human rights and services that many Canadians take for granted enables both individual and systemic violence against them. With the launch and implementation of the federal government’s National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence – which identifies gender-based violence as “one of the most pervasive, deadly, and deeply rooted human rights violations of our time” – it is imperative that the goals identified in the area of implementing Indigenous-led approaches are prioritized and realized.
With a mandate to support career advancement of women-identifying and non-binary professionals in media, communications, technology and other creative fields, GG is a feminist space working to support, celebrate and embrace intersectionality and accountability for our members, especially Indigenous, Black, immigrant/refugee and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The work of GG’s Non-Profit Society is focused around building a culture and infrastructure for our members that is equity centered, trauma informed and accountable to our community agreements.
We are using our community platform to advocate for meaningful action to end the violence against Indigenous women and girls across Turtle Island, in loving memory of these women, their families, and their communities. Please join us.
For any women and gender diverse people experiencing gender-based violence, intimate partner, domestic or sexualized violence located in Metro Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territory, we invite you to explore the support available from Battered Women Support Services (BWSS) by calling the 24/7 crisis line: 604-687-1867, or 1-855-687-1868 (toll-free).
Girl Gang Professional Development Society
Angela Marie MacDougall
GG member & moderator