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Letter of the Day

The issue is surely race

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While an inquiry into murdered and missing women may be misplaced, Dan Lett's reasons why are misguided (Wrong call, June 30). How could almost 600 missing or murdered indigenous women not be about race?

Whether the motives of the killers were racist at the time is beside the point. Race, and more specifically colonialism, is present in the very way Canadian society is structured to systematically displace, marginalize and police indigenous people.

Race and colonialism are present in the fact that indigenous women involved in the "high-risk lifestyles" Lett refers to are more likely to go missing than non-indigenous women, and that their deaths are less likely to be considered tragedies. The fact that non-indigenous women have also gone missing does not change these realities.

A state-sponsored inquiry might work in the short term in order to draw attention to these issues. As the history of state-sponsored inquiries like the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry has shown, however, it is unlikely to result in lasting change because the many arms of the state are unlikely to take action that will fundamentally change their relationship to indigenous people.

Lett's article makes no mention of the work done by the Native Women's Association of Canada or other indigenous-led responses that seek to investigate the systemic nature of these problems. These are the organizations we should be taking our cues from.

BRONWYN DOBCHUK-LAND

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 A11

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