International development is needed not only in the global south or in “poorer, desolate” countries, but it is needed everywhere in every country. Many Canadians are ill-informed to the fact that basic human rights are not an everyday reality for Indigenous Canadians, They believe there is no need to be concerned about dignity and human rights in Canada. But the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can shed light on and create a better understanding of the travesty created by Canadians that is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).
Zero poverty, hunger, good health, and quality education clean water-these are all goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are faced daily by various Indigenous communities and women.
How do we tackle issues such as MMIW? To do so, we must grant basic human rights as outlined in the SDGs to Indigenous communities so that they can effectively maintain and promote empowerment and gender equality for Indigenous women.
Although the SDGs and MMIW are not typically discussed together, the SDGs can be used as a stepping stone to promote and advocate with Indigenous women in the experiences they face.
One goal to specifically focus on it should be the achievement of gender equality. According to the UNDP organization, gender equality is expressed as “providing women and girls with equal access to education, health, employment, as well as representation in politics and economy” (Goal 5: Gender Equality). Canadians must be willing to challenge everyday discourses and descriptions of Indigenous communities and peoples within Canada that exclude, marginalize, and make Indigenous women specifically vulnerable.
Where does the media play into this? News outlets should take greater steps in providing the public with stories and narratives of Indigenous women affected by MMIW to inform Canadians of the raw impacts that MMIW has on communities and families. Once the public becomes aware of the policies and governing bodies that continue to create adverse conditions of Indigenous women and peoples, action can be taken place.
The Canadian government must take extensive steps to repair the relationship it has with the Indigenous community and their involvement in perpetuating MMIW in Canada. Discrimination, poverty, violence against women, and ongoing effects of the “Indian Act” create adverse conditions that Indigenous women are subjected to live in.
We cannot be unconscious to the constant discrimination women face any longer, as the Canadian government should begin to truly consider the effects of gender inequality and the consequences and impacts it has on Indigenous women in Canada.
Written by: Erika Depuis