Research by itself does not bring results, and a new report does more than document statistics about Indigenous women’s lives. It also shares their life stories and connects them to a legal strategy and community mobilisation framework. In May 2022, Canadian Senator Kim Pate launched a new report, Injustices and Miscarriages of Justice Experienced by 12 Indigenous Women, which calls for the exoneration of wrongfully imprisoned women. The report and the surrounding publicity and mobilisation highlights hidden statistics of Canada’s prisons to expose the ugly realities of pervasive colonial policies in Canada.
About 90% of women in prisons in the north are Indigenous. More than 50% of women in Canadian prisons are Indigenous. The rates are skyrocketing in Saskatchewan. As of 2022, Indigenous women account for half of all women in federal prisons yet represent fewer than 4% of women in Canada. The Report states: “Indigenous women disproportionately experience miscarriages of justice: they are charged, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned following systemic and discriminatory failures of the criminal legal and prison systems to adequately recognize, contextualize or address the inequities, racism, sexism, violence and ongoing trauma of their lives. The result is layer upon layer of compounding inequality, beginning with the circumstances that lead to Indigenous women being subject to but under – protected by the state, deputized to protect themselves and those in their care, but then disproportionately charged and criminalized when they respond to violence.”
The number of Indigenous women in prison has grown steadily since 2012. They are being isolated from us and us from them, removed from our families and communities at catastrophic rate. How many are mothers, caregivers, providers, and protectors of those even more vulnerable then they? What contributions to our community could they be making as they live and pursue their dreams? Indigenous peoples make up one of the fastest growing populations in Canada. How will this affect the next generation?
Read the entire article here: pg.36 (EN, FR).