To the Editor
I’m writing in response to Walter Jones article in the June 19 paper titled “A Step in the Right Direction” with the subtitle, “Report on missing and dead Indigenous women is greatly needed.’
At no time and in no place, spoken or written, has this issue ever been referred to as ‘missing and dead’ it is the first affront and is a classic example of privilege; Walter thinking he can replace the word murdered with dead is appalling.
inquiry that Walter seems to believe is needed, but you really have to read past all the racist rhetoric to glean his pro-report stance, actually came about after literally years of Indigenous communities saying their women and girls go missing and are murdered at rates higher than any other population of women and girls in Canada.
The women and girls didn’t just end up dead on sides of highways, in bushes, in hockey bags, in hotel rooms, hidden anywhere and disposed of as if they were no more than garbage… all by themselves – they have been murdered and when we can’t validate that truth with real language you certainly should not have an opinion on the issue! One white man cannot change the word murdered to dead as it is a purposeful attempt to diminish the truth, and the truth in this case is ugly but you don’t get to change that fact because you don’t like it.
That’s just my issue with the title, it gets worse from there with the very first paragraph stating that the report tells us to be “ashamed, very ashamed” Walter pens. This is absolutely false! No where in the 1,080 page “Reclaiming Power and Place” Final Report, nor the 121-page executive summary, the 48-page Calls for Justice, nor any of the supplementary reports or the news release does it say that we “should be ashamed, very ashamed”.
Walters musings about whether or not he should feel shame is irrelevant to any meaningful discussion. How can one so uninformed on what he ‘thinks’ was an in-depth inquiry, which came up with 231 recommendations, be published with an opinion? He even mansplains what genocide is and then goes on to state that what happened is ‘cultural genocide” and that he believes the report did not explain this when, in fact, the report mentions many instances and examples of cultural genocide but also what has happened to our Indigenous women and girls has met the actual definition of genocide; which is more than mass slayings but an actual attempt by one culture to eradicate another.
the end of the article he gives praise to Trudeau for his actions and that he believes that “it will not be easy to ignore missing Indigenous women”, and to that I say we have a long road ahead of us when people can be ‘pro-fixing an issue’ and yet completely diminishes the reality of the situation of what our Indigenous Women and Girls have had to endure.
I think the Amherst News can and should do better. As a society I would hope that we should expect actual educated and informed opinions. A perfect example of white male privilege is letting an uninformed man explain a report on the Missing and Murdered Women and Girls in this Country that he clearly hasn’t read.
This letter, which is my opinion, is the only place that Walter is being called to feel ashamed, ashamed for his lack of understanding and awareness!
Dawn Ferris, executive director, Autumn House, Amherst