Article originally published by Vice Canada.
A new online database of missing and murdered Indigenous women, trans women and Two-Spirit people is aiming to not just record numbers, but to fight back by remembering the lives of the women who have been lost.
“The strength of the database will be from how it honours and remembers missing and murdered Indigenous women, Two Spirit, and trans women,” wrote Erin Konsmo, of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN), in an email interview with VICE. It Starts With Us – Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, a collaboration of NYSHN, Families of Sisters in Spirit and No More Silence, launched in late July. The site already features the names of 72 women who have gone missing, were found dead, or were murdered in Ontario. Another 50 will be added soon. In the coming weeks and months, the names of the hundreds of other native women who have gone missing from other regions of Canada over the last several decades.
Calls for action and public awareness of the epidemic of violence towards Indigenous women has been growing since earlier this year, said Audrey Huntley, one of the organizers with No More Silence. She’s worked to combat violence against Indigenous women for about 20 years, and since February, there’s been media attention like she’s never seen before.