Blue Line

Putting an end to violence against Indigenous women starts with police, media, Beaudin said

January 19, 2023  By The Canadian Press

Jan. 19, 2023, Canada – Putting an end to the much-too-high rate of violence against Indigenous women must become an issue of police education and government reform – but it’s going to be a huge job, the national vice-chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) said this week.

“Where do we even begin?” to better protect Indigenous women from the high levels of violence they face on a daily basis, said CAP national Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin said Tuesday afternoon. “Obviously, it’s got to start with education – education for police and education for the general public.”

Police departments must do a better job of “serving and protecting,” Indigenous men and women in Canada’s cities and that starts with better educating them on the challenges faced by the oft-marginalized urban Indigenous communities, he added.

“There needs to be some level of training that police need to have. Across the country, we see that municipal police departments are asking for massive funding increases. It would be absolutely great if some of those funding increases went toward training or education on the Indigenous community,” Beaudin said. “Then, we would be able to be able to move forward and avoid incidents like we have been seeing.”

Beaudin’s talking about a pair of high-profile cases – one in Winnipeg, where police confirmed late last year that they believed four women, including three First Nations women and a fourth woman who is still unidentified, were slain by a serial killer. A second case was that of Cree women Kara Fosseneuve, who was found dead in Flin Flon, Manitoba, just over a week ago.

The fact the murders were covered at all by the mainstream media, however, represents a step in the right direction, Beaudin said.

“We know that more awareness will mean more education and that will in turn lead to better protection,” he said. “That said, the very fact these incidents get covered at all is an improvement from where things were previously. I think the non-Indigenous Canadian community is starting to wake up to some of the challenges we have faced over the years.”

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