By Kris Dube / News Editor
Bullet News Niagara
NIAGARA - Niagara residents and the local Aboriginal community want to know the answer to the following question: Why eight per cent of Canada's homicide victims between 2004 and 2010 are native women?
On Saturday at Montebello Park in St. Catharines, a peaceful awareness rally will be held to pressure the federal government to take action and follow through with an official inquiry into why First Nations women and girls go missing or are murdered at a rate three times higher than other Canadian women, according to a report from the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
The event will include guest speakers and all members of parliament who represent ridings in Niagara have been invited.
Karl Dockstader, one of the rally`s organizers, says the statistics included in the report illustrate a systemic problem that needs to be investigated.
Native women in Canada are targeted as victims and their cases are not given adequate attention, says Dockstader. "This is not a great time to be an Aboriginal woman in Canada," he told Bullet News Niagara.
Last week, Stephen Harper's Conservative government turned down calls for a public inquiry that would find answers to the many questions raised in the findings.
In the report (http://www.nwac.ca/files/download/NWAC_3D_Toolkit_e_0.pdf), the NWAC gathers information on 582 cases involving missing or murdered native women in Canada. It shows that 67 per cent have been deemed homicides and 20 per cent are cases where the subject is still considered missing. Four per cent are suspicious and nine per cent have an unknown result, according to the report authored by the NWAC.
Dockstader is part of a group of people who peacefully participate in environmental and social movements called Niagara Community Members.
He and everyone else involved are hoping their rally on Mar. 15 in St. Catharines will open the public's eyes about what they consider a crisis.
"There's so much going on right now," said Dockstader.
Following a bureaucratic process of writing open letters to politicians that go unanswered is a process he feels has been exhausted on this issue.
"We really want to raise awareness and let people know this has really gotten out of control," he said.