Prejudice, lack of aid, ignorance: Violence against Inuit women and girls must end


Advocates say better support is needed in major Canadian cities as more Indigenous people move to larger centres. 

In Ottawa, where the Inuit population has grown by more than 35 per cent in the last six years, women are especially vulnerable to violence, homelessness and other issues.

This September, 22-year-old Inuk student Savanna Pikuyak (PIK-uh-yuck) was killed, and her niece says the family is demanding justice and answers. 

Later in the same month, the remains of Mary Papatsie (pah-PAT-see) were found at a construction site five years after she went missing — and just days after the community marked six years since renowned Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook (puh-TOO-gook) died. 

As their families await answers, the Native Women’s Association is working to update a project that tracks where women have gone missing or been found murdered with the hope that patterns in the data will help keep women safe.

And the president of a national Inuit advocacy group says real change needs to happen in Northern communities, where access to housing and health care is a constant challenge.