OPP Release Report On Missing And Murdered Indigenous People

The Ontario Provincial Police released a report on cases of missing and unsolved murders of indigenous people over the last 58 years, on Dec. 16, 2015.

The Ontario Provincial Police released a report on cases of missing and unsolved murders of indigenous people over the last 58 years, on Dec. 16, 2015.

By Red Power Media, Staff

In Ontario Indigenous men are 2 times more likely to be murdered than Indigenous women.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has released a report on cases of missing and unsolved murders of indigenous people, in the hopes that it will lead to new tips or information to further the investigations.

Members of the OPP and First Nations leaders released the report Wednesday morning during a news conference. The report covers the period spanning from 1956 to 2014.

The report comes as the federal government is preparing to launch an inquiry next year into missing and murdered indigenous women in the country. The RCMP has estimated more than 1,200 indigenous women have gone missing or been killed in Canada between 1980 and 2014.

The report found that from 1956 to the end of 2014:

Female indigenous homicides/ missing persons

  • There were 54 homicides involving indigenous females. Eight of them remain unsolved and 46 were solved.
  • Of the 46 solved cases: Nine of the victims were murdered by a family member; 17 were murdered by a domestic partner or spouse; 19 were murdered by a person known to the victim; and one was of “unknown circumstances.”
  • The solved or “clearance” rate for homicides involving an indigenous woman was 85.2 per cent.
  • There were eight missing indigenous females reported to the OPP, and all remain missing.
  • Foul play is possible or suspected in one of these cases.

The report found that from 1978 to the end of 2014:

Male indigenous homicides/missing persons

  • There were 126 homicides involving indigenous males. Only one of these cases remains unsolved and 125 of them were solved.
  • Of the 125 solved cases: 35 were murdered by family members; 10 were murdered by a domestic partner or spouse; 70 were murdered by a person known to the victim; nine were of “unknown circumstances”; and information for one of the cases is not available.
  • The solved or “clearance” rate for homicides involving an indigenous man was 99.2 per cent.
  • There were 39 cases that involve a missing indigenous man.
  • The OPP believe foul play is possible or suspected for 22 of these cases, and 17 of these individuals are considered missing persons.

The OPP’s overall homicide solved or “clearance rate” from 2010 to 2014 was 92.3 per cent, the report said. The OPP defines a homicide investigation to be solved, when charges are laid, regardless if the charges result in a conviction, officers said at the news conference.

“There may be additional persons who are missing or murdered that should be included but their family and/or loved one have not identified them to the OPP as indigenous,” the report noted.

“We recognize that there are many unanswered questions and that we cannot reverse the outcomes for the families and loved ones of those [who] have gone missing or were murdered,” said OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes in a release, adding he hopes the information “generates further discussion, potential leads, and resolution for the families and communities who have suffered loss.”

Chief Isadore Day, Ontario regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said the OPP report on missing and murdered First Nations is a “good starting point” in working towards the process of reconciliation.

Det.-Supt. Dave Truax said the OPP does not believe that any of the homicides are “serial” in nature, meaning they’re likely not the result of a serial killer.

​The OPP began reviewing all cases involving indigenous victims starting in 2011.

The report, which can be downloaded here, includes a compilation of case file information, except in a few cases where families didn’t consent to their release.

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Sisters 4 Sisters Walking To Alberta To Raise Awareness For Missing Persons

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Sask-Walk 4 The Missing & Murdered Persons. Photo: Facebook

By Red Power Media, Staff

A group of Regina advocates are taking their message on the road.

On Saturday, a group calling themselves Sisters 4 Sisters are set to make the more than 800-kilometre trek from Broadview to the Alberta border to raise awareness about not only missing indigenous women, but about all Saskatchewan missing persons.

Evening Star Andreas said the idea was sparked a couple weeks ago when she heard about a group of people walking from Manitoba to Saskatchewan.

The Manitoba walkers started their journey at the Ontario border and walked through Manitoba carrying a red dress to represent murdered indigenous women.

The group put a call out for Saskatchewan walkers to meet them and their call was answered.

“I had to go,” said Andreas, who is passionate about the issue.

Andreas said the Manitoba walkers passed on the red dress along with other gifts including sage from the family of murdered Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine.

“They wanted me to carry it through Saskatchewan to the Alberta border,” she said.

Andreas has been involved in many vigils and missing and murdered indigenous women events in Regina over the years.

She says too many people are not aware of the situation in Canada.

On Facebook the Saskatchewan walkers have a truck covered with the faces of all of Saskatchewan’s missing persons including women, men and children.

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Sask-Walk 4 The Missing & Murdered Persons. Photo: Facebook

“People are just realizing how big of a problem we have,” said Andreas. “We are trying to put faces on the statistics.”

On Saturday, they are to leave Broadview at 11 a.m. heading west to Grenfell then west on to the Alberta border.

There is no set timeline for the walk and athe group is open to visiting communities along the way.

The walkers can be contacted through their Facebook page Sask-Walk 4 The Missing and Murdered Persons.

Sources:

http://www.leaderpost.com/life/group+walks+alberta+raise+awareness/11341970/story.html

https://www.facebook.com/events/146017219070798/

 

RCMP Database On Missing Persons Is Overdue, Over Budget

A 2011 rally on Parliament Hill in solidarity with missing and murdered aboriginal women. An internal report obtained under the Access to Information Act says a promised RCMP database to help solve the problem is long overdue and overbudget. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

A 2011 rally on Parliament Hill in solidarity with missing and murdered aboriginal women. An internal report obtained under the Access to Information Act says a promised RCMP database to help solve the problem is long overdue and overbudget. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

CBC News

Harper government promise of national database for unidentified remains stalled 5 years later

An RCMP database on missing persons and unidentified remains, touted by the Harper government in 2010 as “concrete action” for the problem of murdered and missing indigenous women, is still incomplete and far over budget five years after it was announced.

The national database, plagued by technical problems, won’t be fully in place until late 2016 – more than three years after it was supposed to be helping police across Canada solve crimes.

The initial $1.6-million budget for the project has swollen to at least $2.4 million, drawing scarce resources away from other important RCMP initiatives.

CBC News uncovered details of the botched IT project through a document obtained under the Access to Information Act.

“Due to the delays, it will take another year and will cost approximately double the original estimate,” says a June 28, 2015, internal evaluation of the project.

‘Adverse effect’

“In addition to the financial implications, this delay has had an adverse effect on the RCMP’s work with Canadian policing partners who had expected the database to be operational by early 2013.”

The database was a key element of a $10-million initiative announced by the minister for the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose, in Vancouver on Oct. 29, 2010, as the Harper government faced pressure to call an inquiry into more than 1,000 murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.

“The disturbing issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is one of serious concern and, as Canadians, we know aboriginal women deserve respect, dignity and the right to feel safe,” Ambrose told a news conference.

​The RCMP created a slimmer version of the database in 2014 without much of the system’s intended functionality, with software updates planned this fall and next year, Staff-Sgt. Julie Gagnon told CBC News.

She added that the incomplete tool has not yet solved any cases.

“The automated linkage analysis function … has not yet resulted in any confirmed matches of missing persons to unidentified remains,” she said in an email.

dawn-harvard-cjfe-feature

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says the delayed database shows the federal government lacks the political will to address the problem of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.

An internal lessons-learned document says the database project was beset with problems, including delays in getting a basic security clearance for the contractor. The RCMP itself provides security clearances for the government.

The evaluation of other aspects of Ambrose’s $10-million announcement was more positive, with successful improvements to the Canadian Police Information Centre system, known as CPIC, and creation of a website where the public can provide tips to help solve crimes.

Lack of political will?

“Specifics on the value of tips submitted as a result of visiting the website are not available,” the document says.

The president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada says the delayed database project is yet more evidence that the government of Canada does not take the issue seriously.

“The fact that it’s taking Canada so long to address this shows that it really is a lack of political will,” Dawn Lavell-Harvard told CBC News from Toronto. “That’s not only disheartening, it’s absolutely appalling that they could treat human beings in such a way. … Every week there’s another aboriginal woman who goes missing.”

Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney

Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney says three of four initiatives reviewed in the RCMP evaluation were “fully implemented with positive results.” (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Harper government has continued to resist calls for a national inquiry into the problem of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, promising action rather than study. Both the New Democratic Party and the Liberal party promise to call an inquiry should they form government.

Ambrose’s office declined comment on the delayed database, referring questions to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney who’s responsible for the RCMP.

In an email, Blaney noted that three of four initiatives reviewed by the RCMP evaluation were “fully implemented with positive results.”

Blaney also said another $8.1-million project announced last year, creation of a DNA-based missing persons index as part of the RCMP’s National DNA data bank, will become a powerful tool to resolve cases of missing persons and unidentified remains, and bring closure to families.

The data bank is expected to start accepting DNA profiles in the spring of 2017.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/rcmp-database-on-missing-persons-is-overdue-over-budget-1.3206198

Alberta RCMP Sweeping North Saskatchewan River For Missing Persons

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Two RCMP officers patrol the North Saskatchewan River by boat on August 20, 2015. RCMP are conducting a two-day sweep of the river in search of missing persons.

By Red Power Media, Staff

The Alberta RCMP Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Unit are conducting an aerial sweep of the North Saskatchewan River to possibly recover the remains of missing people who are believed to have entered the river at some point.

The search Thursday and Friday started with an RCMP helicopter travelling from the eastern Edmonton city limit to the Saskatchewan border. An RCMP jet boat will also be combing the river banks between Fort Saskatchewan and Edmonton, travelling farther down the river to the Vinca Bridge at Highway 831 if water levels allow.

There are 38 missing people who have been reported to RCMP detachments in communities along the river.

The Edmonton city police service also currently has several ongoing investigations in which the missing person is believed to have entered the North Saskatchewan River.

The remains of four people who went missing in Edmonton have been discovered on the banks of the river (in eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan) since 2010.

The operation has been launched now because the water levels of the North Saskatchewan River are at their lowest and clearest at this time of year.