An RCMP report into missing and murdered aboriginal women says native women have been killed at a much higher rate than non-aboriginals, but it also says police have been solving homicides in both groups at almost the same rate.
The overview is the first detailed breakdown of 1,181 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women across Canada since 1980.
The report says police have solved 88% of aboriginal female homicides in that time and 89% of other cases.
Ramona Wilson went missing in 1994 after hitchhiking along BC’s Highway of Tears, and has never been found.
Her sister Brenda Wilson in Prince George, says she doesn’t believe the RCMP’s claim that they solve murders for native and non-native women at about the same rate.
“I don’t see any of the cases in our area that have been solved, absolutely none. And that’s quite a few cases, if they want to count 18, and actually the statistics are higher than that from Prince Rupert to Prince George.“
Wilson says she’s not at all surprised that the number of missing and murdered women is so high, and says it’s crucial right now to pursue a national public inquiry to regain equal rights for aboriginals.
Wally Oppal, who oversaw BC’s inquiry into the missing and murdered women relating to the Robert Pickton case, says he’s not so sure about a national effort.
”The issues that we raised are really the same issues across the country and that is that the root casuses (are) the poverty, the drug addiction, the poverty and all of those factors. So I think we have to start dealing with those causes and starting putting funding in.”
He says it’s important to hear from the victims’ families because that’s part of the healing process. But he adds right now, governments should focus on addressing the causes behind the violence against aboriginal women.