In Response to Rosemary Westwood’s Indigenous Woman’s Trauma cannot be conveyed in statistics
We have this far-left paper in Calgary that is called the Metro. They hand it out for free when I get on the local transit. The Metro seems to mostly hire far-left progressives to write their articles. I was quite indignant at one of the journalists, Rosemary Westwood. In the title of the article “Indigenous Woman’s Trauma cannot be conveyed in statistics”, Rosemary puts statistics on the back-burner and takes us into the realm of trauma and pain, and downplayed critical thinking and logic.
Let me be clear, of course I feel for anyone who has a missing or murdered daughter. Rosemary’s dismissal of statistics leaves out the true sadness of the statistics. The title of her article emphasizes women, but she should have looked further at the rest of the demographics. As we can see in Rosanna Deerchild’s shocking article, the statistics show that 71 percent of murdered and missing indigenous people are MALE.
I fully concede that of course the history against the Canadian indigenous people (and indigenous people around the world) has been marked by genocide, including the cultural genocide of residential schools. If cultural genocide sounds too euphemistic, simply consider that many of these children were taken away from their families at a very young age, beaten, abused, and raped, and not allowed to learn their language or learn practical skills (such as fishing, hunting, and family skills) to live on the reservations.
However, Rosemary’s legacy of articles seem to rely on an outdated feminist or post-colonial frameworks, which are no longer appropriate to analyze the modern reservations in Canada. Thankfully, most modern Westerners and Canadians are not raping and pillaging on the reservations. Today, if we want to help the indigenous people, we must recognize that the current crimes against the indigenous are committed as lateral crimes. That is, they are murdering and committing crimes against each other. I am prepared to substantiate this claim as follows:
Canada’s own statistics shows the disproportionate rate of crime among Indigenous peoples.
Aboriginal people come into conflict with the law disproportionately to their representation in the general population. While representing 2.7 per cent of Canada’s population, self-identified Aboriginal people represent approximately 17 per cent of all admissions to federal institutions […] Adult Aboriginal people are incarcerated more than six times the national rate.
The higher incarceration rate does not indicate that the crime is lateral. Some could argue that a higher incarceration rate is simply a result of bigotry. I suggest we take this statistical data in context of the anecdotal data, which as been compiled in this handy psychology/sociology paper. http://www.ahf.ca/downloads/lateral-violence-english.pdf
The theme in this paper is clear, as we read the overwhelming repetitive sentiment of the Canadian indigenous:
We are dealing with family dysfunction, family fights in different parts of the community, and so on. Why is that? Why do we as Aboriginal people often tend to be mean to one other? Whether it’s lateral violence, gossip, rumor, backstabbing, and even outright anger, sometimes leading to deaths, violent deaths. Why is that? I think you can make linkages to what we’ve been talking about [..which is violence on the reservation..].
Our American neighbours are realizing the same things, which is that the crimes on reservations are committed by the indigenous themselves. An article by Timothy Williams demonstrates that the reservations have a higher crime rate and fewer convictions.
To link back to Rosemary’s Westwood’s article, and her implication that women are the biggest victim of abuse on the reservation; Rosanna Deerchild’s article and the actual statistical data show that indigenous men are the majority of missing and murdered indigenous. Especially when we read the anecdotal surveys, the feedback from the paper clearly shows that the violence is not discriminatory, and both genders (as well as children) are hurting.
Many of the fiscally conservative think that it is not necessary to spend on the inquiry, since we have already made logical conclusions on who is committing the murders and violence on reservations. However, I personally support a detailed inquiry; we should have measured confirmation before moving forward with an action plan. I think the real answer would take some common sense to realize indigenous families are broken, due to their genuinely traumatic history. However, perhaps the only way to help the indigenous population is to recognize the facts and encourage them to heal with the facts.
My heart goes out to all the victims and I asked the public to extend your sympathies without discriminating due to gender. The Canadian Association for Equality started a petition called the Necktie Campaign, to expand the inquiry, and improve the likelihood that the inquiry results will be accurate. This will address the pain of ALL indigenous mothers.
Also, follow the Canadian Association for Equality- Calgary branch facebook page to learn more about the marginalized issues of Men and Boys in Canada!
By Monique Dietvorst
Monique is a fiction and technical writer who was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She loves music, books, her pitbull dog, Apollo, and her cat, Ayaan. She is the Member Relations and Community Outreach Officer for the Calgary branch of Canadian Association for Equality (C.A.F.E.), and she is a Men’s Issues Enthusiast.
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