Violence Against Aboriginal Women

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Indigenous Women are being murdered and are disappearing at a higher rate than other women in Canada. Aboriginal women are five times more likely than other women to die due to violence. High rates of murder of indigenous women have occurred since settlers arrived in Canada. The first European and Canadian Aboriginal contact dates back to the sixteenth century. Indigenous women were the centers of their community and a common tactic of European settlers was to attack women. Aboriginal women are three times more likely to experience spousal violence; as a result the spousal homicide rate is eight times higher for Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal women. Experts agree violence against aboriginal women is the result of social, economic, and political …show more content…

There were nomadic tribes such as the Plains People who followed buffalo (Iroquois Indians) and tribes who resided on the coast who hunted and fished. Arrival of the Europeans would affect the aboriginal way of life and the way people related to the land. Aboriginal people had verbal treaties. They had no central government; rather aboriginal society existed on unwritten customs and courtesies. Aboriginal nations employed oral treaties to settle disputes and end war. The Europeans brought their own governance and written treaties upon their arrival. When agreements between Aboriginals and Europeans were made they were written, as is European custom, and did not include a verbal component which made it difficult for Aboriginals. In 1867 the Indian Act was written into law which officially made all Aboriginals legal wards of the state. The Indian Act had many negative consequences. As it pertains to women, the Indian Act made a distinction between Aboriginal women who married Aboriginal men versus those who married Canadian men. Those who married Canadian men would be given full Canadian status and all the benefits it decreed; this meant, in 1930 when women were granted the right to vote and own property they could do so. However, Aboriginal women who married Aboriginal men were granted Aboriginal status with rights only on the Reserves. These women were considered non-persons and could not vote or own property in Canada. According to the Indian Act women were defined as Indians if their father or husband were Indian, however, were not considered Indian if their mothers were Aboriginal. This is a significant distinction because many Aboriginal tribes are matrilineal and define lineage through the mother not the father. In many tribes women were chiefs and men and women had equal rights. European laws such as the Indian Act had the effect of stripping Aboriginal women of their rank and

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