By Julia Magsombol 

Local Journalism Initiative 

[email protected]

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) hosted a press conference in Quebec recently to address the country’s genocide of Indigenous Peoples. 

Genocide is the intentional elimination of a given group based on their shared identity. It’s sometimes based on nationality or ethnicity. 

The NWAC has launched a booklet filled with haunting imagery and offers steps that can be taken to end this genocide.

“It’s hard to accept, but it’s not up for debate,” said the NWAC. “There is an ongoing genocide against Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This history and its legacy must be acknowledged. This is not a partisan issue. This is not a political issue. This is a genocide, and we need to take action.” 

The graphic guide was produced in partnership with Chloloula, an artist and documentary filmmaker, and Fannie Lafontaine, a legal expert and law professor. 

NWAC hopes that ministers of education in every province incorporate the material into high school subjects within their jurisdictions.

There were many kinds of genocide associated with the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. 

Cultural genocide 

Cultural genocide is known to be the destruction of one’s culture. It can include the complete elimination of cultural activities, artifacts, language and traditions. Many Indigenous Peoples and scholars argue that the residential school is one example of cultural genocide. The colonization was intended to destroy the cultures of Indigenous Peoples in Canada as a distinct group. 

Missing, murdered Indigenous women and girls  

Genocide was not only seen in the residential school system. The pattern of repetitive violence, abuse, and murders against Indigenous women and girls in Canada can be characterized as an act of genocide. 

In 2017 the Department of Justice (DOJ) Canada reported an increase in the number of murdered Indigenous women. From 1980 to 2014, Canadian police reported almost 7,000 female homicide cases — 16 per cent were Indigenous women. The DOJ summarized how those homicide cases have grown. See https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/jf-pf/2017/july04.html.

For more information on the conference, visit: https://nwac.ca/media/2023/06/is-a-genocide-taking-place-in-canada-short-answer-yes.