Research Start-up Summary and Abstract:
This project aims to draw focus to the structural and historical forces that serve to systemically disadvantage and threaten the wellbeing of urban Aboriginal women in a post-colonial society (Smith 2005; Anderson et al. 2008; Jacobs and Williams 2008). Too often, when a case of a missing or murdered Aboriginal woman comes to light, her story is passed off as an isolated event that has nothing to do with her Aboriginal identity. Still, the shockingly disproportionate number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada (Pearce 2013; AIC 2009; NWAC 2007) suggests that these tragic events are connected through these women’s shared experiences of colonialism. While each of their lives and deaths are unique, research demonstrates that they all experience the social forces at play that disenfranchise, displace, and disadvantage Aboriginal women and girls in Canadian society. These troublesome patterns of violence cause indescribable pain to the families and communities that share their histories with missing and/or murdered Aboriginal women.
Our research will connect with the human development and social cohesion themes and priorities as outlined by the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network guidelines. We intend to shed light on the culture of disconnection and denial that exists (Jiwani and Young 2006) in regard to cases of missing and/or murdered Aboriginal women by highlighting the conditions and circumstances that serve to marginalize and suppress urban Aboriginal girls and women. These situations include women who are often young and/or single mothers, are or have been in abusive relationships, or are pursuing educational or professional opportunities.