Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations
mmiwg-main-banner.jpg
Far too many Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Canada become victims of violence. Although Indigenous women make up only four percent of Canada's female population, 16 percent of all women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were Indigenous. In 2017, 24 percent of female homicide victims in Canada were Indigenous women and girls.

Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Violence and Discrimination against Indigenous Women in Canada was released by Amnesty International in 2004. The Sisters in Spirit Initiative, led by the Native Women's Association of Canada, was initiated to gather important statistics and to raise awareness of this issue. As of 2010, 582 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls were entered into the Sisters in Spirit database. 

Many other reports and studies on violence toward Indigenous women in Canada have identified some root causes, including poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, colonialism and the great harm caused by historic factors, such as the residential school system. 

Rates of domestic, family and stranger violence are extremely high. Indigenous women are more likely to be killed by acquaintances than are non-Indigenous women. They are seven times more likely to be targeted by serial killers. In the words of James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are "epidemic". 

2SLGBTQQIA+ refers to Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex or Asexual individuals, while the + stands for other ways individuals may express their gender or sexuality. 

HBO MemorialOver 200 people from all across Manitoba gathered on the grounds of the former Guy Hill Residential School Site north of The Pas, Manitoba to honour the life and legacy of Helen Betty Osborne. Attendees included family and friends, advocates, and politicians. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
HBO MemorialEach of the 231 Calls for Justice was printed and placed along the memorial route for the 50th Anniversary Commemoration for Helen Betty Osborne. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
HBO MemorialFollowing the ceremony at the Guy Hill site, memorial participants walked four kilometres to the pump house to lay a wreath, flowers, and tobacco at the memorial built in honour of Helen Betty Osborne. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
HBO MemorialView of the memorial built in honour of Helen Betty Osborne. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
HBO MemorialMinister Alan Lagimodiere delivering remarks at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration for Helen Betty Osborne on November 13, 2021. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
HBO MemorialMinister Rochelle Squires delivering remarks at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration for Helen Betty Osborne on November 13, 2021. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
HBO MemorialView of the Candlelit Ceremony held at the end of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration for Helen Betty Osborne on November 13, 2021. (Credit: B. Bloxom; The Pas Family Resource Centre).
Red Dress Display View of the red dress display at the Legislative Building in recognition of MMIWG Awareness Day, October 2021.
Red Dress DisplayClose-up view of the red dress display at the Legislative Building.
Selkirk OverviewUnveiling of Manidoonsag Imaa Mikinaako-Minisiing in Selkirk on MMIWG Awareness Day, October 4, 2021.
Selkirk Close-upOne of four murals in the Manidoonsag Imaa Mikinaako-Minisiing installation in Selkirk, Manitoba.
Manitoba MMIWG Awareness Day Vigil Manitoba MMIWG Awarness Day Vigil – October 4, 2018
Minister Eileen Clarke with Darlene Osborne Minister Eileen Clarke with MMIWG Family Member Darlene Osborne from Norway House Cree Nation
Manitoba Legislature visit MMIWG National Inquiry Commissioner Michèle Audette visit to the Manitoba legislature – 2018
Bronze Monument Kakigay-Pimitchy-Yoong Pimatizwin – Sagkeeng First Nation Manitoba- artist Wayne Stranger
Red light at the Legislature Building Red lights lit up on the Legislature Building in honour of MMIWG on February 14th 2021 – the annual MMIWG march/walk
Red light at the Legislature Building Red lights lit up on the Legislature Building in honour of MMIWG on February 14th 2021 – the annual MMIWG march/walk

Additional information concerning the National Inquiry, Manitoba actions to address MMIWG, additional reports, provincial legislation, and other related Government of Manitoba websites can be accessed through the sidebar or bottom menus, for browsers on desktop and mobile respectively.

Previous Messages

November 13, 2021, marked the 50th Anniversary since the tragic death of Helen Betty Osborne, referred to as Betty by her family and friends. Betty was a nineteen year old Cree woman from Norway House who was boarding in The Pas to attend high school. She was deeply loved by her family and had dreams of furthering her education to become a teacher. On November 12, 1971, Betty did as many nineteen-year-olds do and went out with her friends. Instead of returning home, Betty was abducted by four non-Indigenous men. She was assaulted, attacked repeatedly, and brutally murdered. Charges were not laid until 1986, sixteen years later, when only one of her attackers was convicted of her murder. 

In 1988, the Manitoba Government created the Pubic Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People, commonly known as the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. The Inquiry was created partially in response to the trial of two of Betty’s attackers and allegations that the identities of all four men were widely known in the community shortly after her murder. The findings of the Inquiry concluded that “It is clear that Betty Osborne would not have been killed if she had not been Aboriginal...those who abducted her showed a total lack of regard for her person or her rights as an individual.”

Although 50 years have passed, the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Men, Boys, Two-Spirited and Gender Diverse individuals continues to personally affect thousands of families across Manitoba and Canada. 

All Manitobans must remember Betty, alongside the many others, who unfortunately share a similar story.

It is imperative that we honour the life of Helen Betty Osborne by continuing to acknowledge the factors that led to this tragedy. These factors include the very real existence of both historic and continued forms of colonialism, systemic racism, the ongoing and intergenerational effects of the residential school system, and the consistent devaluing of women over generations. The National Inquiry was clear that this pattern represents genocide. 

The Manitoba Government recognizes the magnitude of work that remains to be done, as well as our role in addressing these harms. We will continue to work alongside and be guided by Indigenous families, survivors, leadership, communities, and organizations.

______

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911. 

For additional supports, please see Trauma-Informed Resources.


Additional Resources 


Helen Betty Osborne Scholarship

The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission

Supports for Families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

CBC Missing and Murdered

Crime Stoppers Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 
June 3, 2021 marked the second anniversary of the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Manitoba, through the Gender-Based Violence Committee of Cabinet (GBVCC), is committed to taking coordinated steps to end gender-based violence.
In the below video, hear how members of the GBVCC are working through their departments and alongside Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, families, survivors, leadership and communities to take action and promote a future where Indigenous women and girls can thrive in a safe and secure.

 

 
 

Help

If you are in immediate danger, or feel unsafe, CALL 911.

If you or someone you know is not in immediate danger, but needs advice, please call the 24-hour domestic violence information and crisis line at 1-877-977-0007. The help line is available province-wide where callers can find out about their options and services available in their community.