Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
In our fourth installation of the celebration of women’s rights (In commemoration of the passages of the 19th amendment) we would like to bring more attention to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) in the United States and Canada. Over the past few weeks we have been speaking about intersectionality as it relates to gender. That is, we must think about how a woman’s race, ethnicity and even social class can affect her quality of life. In previous articles we have mentioned that the womanist tradition is a school of thought that causes one to pay attention to the needs of women of color. In contrast, the traditional feminist movement tends to cater to the needs of women of European decent. In this vein we want to bring attention to a social ill that has long plagued indigenous communities, namely that of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Although the phenomenon has been going on for much longer, researchers have been able to somewhat accurately track the numbers since 1980. Between 1980 and 2012, indigenous women and girls represented 16% of all female homicides in Canada. What makes this static so troubling is that Native women only make up 4% of the female population in Canada. Other statistics are equally disturbing. A Canadian report from 2001 estimated that between 1997 and 2000 the homicide rate for Native females was almost seven times higher than other females. Furthermore, they are far more likely to be affected by violence, over-represented among female homicide victims and are far more likely to go missing than other women. In the United States, 84 percent of Native American women experience violence in their lifetimes. Below we have provided some articles and resources to bring more awareness and education to the public on this topic. We will also provide lessons and resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Teachers can have students do research on Native American culture from a historical standpoint in order for them to explore and understand Indigenous people’s rights and culture in modern times. From there, students can research the differing customs and culture of women from various Native tribes. This can allow students to understand the reasons why these women are targeted. The next step would be helping students find solutions to combat this social ill. Activities might include analyzing primary sources, studying Native constitutions and laws and researching media news articles on the topic. It would also be powerful if students had an opportunity to speak with Native women about their lives and culture.
Formative assessments and culminating projects might consist of students making their own documentary about the topic, students creating a diary from the perspective of Native women to create empathy and having students do an essay that explores the news articles and media stories on the topic.
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women: Teacher in Training- Less Plan
Missing, murdered Indigenous women inquiry to ask for more time- Lesson Plan
The Issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada- Unit Plan
Honoring Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women in the Classroom
Finding Dawn- Documentary
Highway of Tears: Preventing Violence Against Women
Article and References
A New Study on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Highlights Challenges
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Why Do So Many Native American Women Go Missing? Congress Aiming to Find Out
Inadequate Data on Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
National Day of Awareness for MIssing and Murdered Indigineous Women is May 5th
Congress Tackles Crisis of Missing and Murdered Native American Women
Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls: An epidemic on both sides of the Medicine Line
Thousands of killed or missing Indigenous women and girls are victims of a ‘Canadian genocide,’ report says
Why thousands of indigenous women have gone missing in Canada “My sister’s murder will probably never be solved.”
Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.