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Project June 2, 2017

Canada's Missing and Murdered Women


City of Winnipeg
Photo courtesy of Joanna Jolly. Winnipeg, Canada. 2016.

In 2016, the Canadian government launched a long-awaited inquiry into the murders and disappearances of thousands of Aboriginal women, in the hope of bringing an end to what it described as "an ongoing national tragedy."

Indigenous Canadian women are at least four times more likely to be murdered or go missing than other Canadian women. Many are killed after a life on the margins of society; as runaways, drug addicts and sex workers. Indigenous leaders say their societies are struggling with a legacy of colonial policies which separated children from their parents and discouraged indigenous lifestyles.

For many years, the high rate of violence against Aboriginal women was dismissed or ignored. But a number of recent high-profile cases have brought attention to the issue, and led to demands for a national inquiry. One of these cases was that of a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Tina Fontaine, who's body was found weighted down in the Red River, which flows through the city of Winnipeg.

In 2015 Joanna Jolly travelled to Winnipeg to report on Tina's death for the BBC. She is now returning to the city to examine how the launch of the national inquiry has affected relationships with the Aboriginal community and what is being done to improve the safety of women.


Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


Gender Equality

Gender Equality