Invitations are going out to other reserves as well, in an attempt to organize others to join in a common and coordinated weekend of protest.
Lester Green, representing the Rotiskenrakehte or Men’s Fire, told the Two Row Times that the government must change its ways and that even if an inquiry were called for, it would have to be independent in nature.
“We don’t want the government doing its own investigation of itself,” said Green. “There are reports that some of those missing women were raped by OPP or RCMP officers. That’s not to say they are all like that, but some are and that creates a conflict of interest,” says Green.
He explains that the aim of the protest is to bring awareness, not only to the missing and murdered women, “but also, as men, we want to share our roles and responsibilities as well. We want to make sure the government is going to do something.”
Stephen Harper has ignored all requests and demands for a national inquiry into the cold case files of more than 1,000 cases of Onkwehonwe women who have either gone missing, or been murdered without proper investigation or closure to the families of the victims.
By contrast Green points out the manhunt that was conducted in the case of Tim Bosma. In that case, a man was abducted while accompanying someone for a test-drive of a vehicle he was selling. There was a huge police dragnet set up that spread across southwestern Ontario over several days until his remains were found and the perpetrators arrested.
“We are all aware of the Tim Bosma case and how much media attention that got for one man. Meanwhile, we have hundreds and even thousands of people missing in our community too and they want to turn a cold shoulder to it,” says Green. “Why don’t we see that kind of police attention and media coverage when one of our women or men go missing,” he asks.
According to Green, there are also more than 2,000 unsolved murders or missing persons cases involving Aboriginal men as well as women.
He recalls when the American Indian Movement aka AIM started in the United States, it was due in part to a growing list of missing and murdered Native men and women across the USA whose cases were never properly investigated.
“This problem has been around for a long time, and we want to bring that to the forefront,” says Green. “Our responsibility as men, no matter what Nation we come from, is to protect our women and children.”
The group has been in discussion with similar Men’s Fire-like groups from other reserves as well and reports that October 5-6 will also see similar actions throughout the region.
“This could be just the first of many,” Green adds.
We must stand united with other Onkwehon:we people across Turtle Island,” adds Bill Monture, a member of the Six Nations Men’s Fire group. “This could lead to a chain reaction across Canada.”
The OPP have been informed of the two-day closure being planned so there will be no surprises or misunderstandings when it happens.
The group has issued an official statement, which reads as follows:
“Am I next? The haunting question that runs through the minds of our women across Canada. The murdered and missing indigenous women from every community are considered our sisters despite what nation or clan they belong to. Our responsibility as men and community members is to protect the women and children.
The Rotiskenrakehte of the Grand River territory are holding a series of meetings in regards to our murdered and missing women. We are inviting other territories to discuss a day of action demanding an inquiry take place with Harpers government.
We will discuss ways to work together putting together a strategic plan in getting this severe issue put on the front burner. Thousands of women have lost their lives or have yet to be found, leaving families without their mothers, daughters, sisters and aunties. Justice and an investigation into why so many of our women keep disappearing is required.
It’s time we all stand up and come together as one voice, with one message… No More! No More murders. No More missing and No More ignoring our women.”
The group invites the community to attend a meeting on the subject this Saturday, Sept. 20th, at 11 am at 724 Chiefswood Rd.
“Our women deserve to be looked at as more than a piece of paper filed away as just another statistic,” says Green. All of these women have families they are mothers, cousins, aunts and daughters, all of which deserve to have justice and closure to them and their families.”
For more information or input, the community is invited to call Lester Green at 226-387-2151.