May 21, 2014 7:16 pm

Sask RCMP focus on missing, murdered Aboriginal women

REGINA – In light of a comprehensive RCMP report last week showing a disproportionate number of women whose lives end in violence are Aboriginal, local police are speaking to work being done in Saskatchewan.

Indigenous women in Saskatchewan represent about 15 per cent of the province’s population, but half of female homicide victims-  the highest per cent of all provinces. Over the past 30 years, 153 aboriginal women in the province were murdered.

The RCMP also reports 16 missing indigenous women in Saskatchewan.

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“We are, as we should be, treating each case with the exact same amount of diligence and effort and determination regardless of the socio or economical condition or plight of the individual,” said Regina police chief Troy Hagen.

The report proves Hagen’s point, as the number of homicides that were solved by police in Canada is similar for cases involving both Indigenous and non-Indigenous victims.

“Within Saskatchewan, it’s pretty much re-affirmed what we already knew. Based upon what we currently have in this province, I’m very comfortable with the direction that we’re going,” said  RCMP assistant commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr. “We can absolutely get better but law enforcement alone is not going to solve this.”

A local voice for Indigenous people believes more funding, particularly for education, is necessary.

“Our own indigenous people and organizations have the answers to addressing violence however we don’t have the resources that are available to address the issues of violence,” said Erica Beaudin, urban services manager with Regina Treaty Status Indian Services.

The main message heard from police and others involved is there needs to be more focus on preventing lives from being lost in the first place.

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