Why a Community-Led Database?

WHY?

It’s time for community to build our own structures independent of government and institutional funding. The purpose of this database is to our honour our women and provide family members with a way to document their loved ones passing while asserting community control of our own record-keeping.

The database will document Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and Trans people who have gone missing, or died as a result of violence. This could include murder, manslaughter, accidental and suicide, as well as deaths which families and communities have deemed suspicious and are unsolved or for whom answers or justice have yet to be found.

Over the years there have been many people who have taken up this issue in many different ways – not just numbers. This includes advocacy from the grassroots and community level as well as provincial and federal government policy changes and legislation. There has been many recommendations, reports and research done on what prevents violence in Indigenous communities. However, a lot of this work did not centralize or sometimes even include those most affected by violence – families, communities, and individuals who had experienced violence and its consequences first hand.

As more media began to pay attention to the issues and the Memorial Marches spread to more cities and got larger – many people across the US and Canada started taking action and continue to do so.

As grassroots organizations in collaboration on this project we are connected to the many legacies behind this ongoing work – we hope the initiation of a community-led database will open up a space for local and regional advocates, activists and families a place to share information about deaths that have occurred but also honour the lives of those we’ve lost.

DONATE

Work on this community database has already started, but there is a lot more to be done. As this project seeks to be independent from government and institutional funding, your support is even more critical in making this possible. Honour MMIW (missing and murdered Indigenous women, trans and two-spirited people), and their families by supporting a new way to document their loved ones passing. Make your secure online donation now by clicking on the button below. 

We thank the Crossroads United Church (Kingston, Ontario) for their donation to help us purchase a computer that is used for the purposes of maintaining this website/database. 

Get Involved

We are currently working locally to contact people and/or forming teams with people who have been documenting missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit and Trans people in their regions. 

If you would like to post your list or get involved regionally please contact ItStartsWithUs at email: itstartswithusmmiw@gmail.com

VIOLENCE NO MORE SERIES

In the summer of 2011, No More Silence invited the Native Youth Sexual Network to participate in an event entitled The Silence is Broken, but the Violence Continues: Now What? to create community discussions about moving beyond awareness raising to actually strategizing about how to end violence.

Community members came together initially from Toronto, then with the support of funds from the Community Knowledge Alliance of the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto No More Silence was able to invite FSIS and other activists working with family members in Vancouver’s downtown eastside and other regions to join the discussion. The decision to create a community-led database was born at our April Violence No More Meeting in 2013. Subsequently No More Silence approached FSIS and together met with Indigenous researcher, Dr. Janet Smylie who had offered her assistance in developing the criteria. Together with community partner, NYSHN, the database was launched in the fall of 2013. In the summer of 2014 we were able to launch this website including our first tribute page in honour of Bella Laboucan-Mclean. So over the last 3-4 years people have been brought together in conversation, in the spirit of collaboration and understanding that no one can own this work.

We hope to be as transparent as possible – gathering information directly from family members who are open and consent to sharing, by searching and collaborating with existing regional lists created by community members who give consent to share their work, as well as digging through media reports and anecdotal evidence.

The Silence is Broken, But the Violence Continues: Now What?
Part I

Event: Wednesday July 20, 2011 at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto

Discussion: Where to take our efforts to end the murders and disappearance of Indigenous women/Two Spirit/Trans and a screening of the film: “Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside”

Darlene Ritchie

Lee Maracle

Harsha Walia

Native Youth Sexual Health Network

The Silence is Broken, But the Violence Continues: Now What?
Part II

Here are videos of the four panelists from The Silence is Broken, But the Violence Continues: Now What? Part II event at the Native Women’s Resource Centre in Toronto on November 24, 2011. This event was part of Indigenous Sovereignty Week, Toronto 2011.

Opening Prayer and Song

Introduction

Lee Maracle

Native Youth Sexual Health Network

Darlene Ritchie

Faith Nolan

Group Discussion Report Back (1 of 2)

Group Discussion Report Back (2 of 2)

Violence No More
with Andrea Smith and Families of Sisters In Spirit

Event at the OISE Auditorium in Toronto on April 29, 2013. (The lighting conditions in the auditorium were not great for video, but beyond our control.)

Opening & Andrea Smith

Panel Discussions

Q&A and Closing Songs

Sarah Hunt, Monica Forrester and Tanya Kappo on community based responses to Violence

Sarah Hunt

Monica Forrester

Tanya Kappo