Sisters in Spirit gathering in 2011 (1 year after funding was cut)
A report came out on Saturday on CBC Radio’s The House that called to question the actual number of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. The current (mostly) accepted number, approximately 600, is based on a report created in 2010 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The NWAC was commissioned and funded to create the report by the federal government’s Status of Women Canada.
When CBC reporters contacted the RCMP and asked them for comment they were met with a few big surprises. First, the NWAC claimed there were 580 missing women- not the commonly used 600. Even more surprising is that the RCMP claims that the NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit (SIS) campaign only provided them with a list of 118 alleged victims. Next, the discrepancy gets worse- the RCMP claims that 54 of the NWAC’s 118 submitted victims are not listed in police databases as missing or murdered.
So, what’s going on here, whose numbers are right- the RCMP’s or the SIS report? My inner technical architect tells me it’s very likely that the RCMP have an incomplete list of victims- Canada has numerous municipal, provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, it can be hard to keep and update data from so many sources. But, after some quick investigation, it appears there are also some glaring discrepancies in the NWAC’s work.