David Alexander Robertson

End The Violence, Now.

The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada is important to me, and has become more important over the years as I raise three daughters with my wife, Jill Robertson. From writing The Life of Helen Betty Osborne and having the opportunity to visit classrooms and speak at conferences and festivals across this country, I have seen there is still an enormous amount of work to be done in bringing this issue to the forefront.

Our future rests within our women, there is no question about it. We need to protect and cherish our women at all costs, and the fact that almost 1,200 Indigenous women have been murdered or have gone missing since 1980 (Helen Betty was murdered in 1971) is one of the great tragedies in this country’s history. Do more. Speak up. We can’t stand for this any longer. End the violence.

I want to commend the people of Winnipeg who showed up at the march and demonstration in honour of Tina Fontaine, as well as Faron Hall. And I want to give a special thanks to my friends Niigaan Sinclair and Wab Kinew for their work in selflessly organizing and running this important event.

Niigaan also wrote a beautiful article which you can read right here. I am very proud of this man.

Of course, we need to do more than just show up. But what does doing more look like? What do you think can be done?

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  1. Chenoa Walker
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Tell me something a teacher like myself, someone who can influence a large number of young people, can do to take action against the violence. A student of mine, April Hornbrook, a mother and sister, was murdered a few years ago. The loss of her life went largely unnoticed at the school she had graduated from while scholarships, plaques and photos of other former students with tight knit “unbroken” families who felt their accidental loss were put up on the walls. I am bothered by this dichotomy. She was a foster child, her family could hardly pull together to have a service in her honour. And the larger community (me, the other teachers, everyone) did nothing. Give me a piece of advice. No pressure :)

    • david
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Hi there, and thanks for your comment. This is sadly typical: the epidemic of our missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada had gone largely unnoticed for a long period of time. Now, with the advent of social media as a tool for social activism, we are seeing more awareness. This may sound short, but you asked what to do as you and others had done nothing. My answer would be to do something. As to what that is, I can’t say, but there are several options. Take the initiative to organize a school project that would raise awareness for your student’s death in the context of this larger social epidemic, while honouring your student’s life. I would get likeminded students/staff together and come up with some ideas and then consult with the family and figure out what you can do to: honour her and raise awareness. Remember, inaction in the face of an opportunity to create change is something the AJI called indifference. Indifference is harmful to our well-being as a collective people. Share her story, educate. I hope this helps.

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