MMIWG2S: Inspiring Transformational Change

Issue: 18

Dec 06, 2023
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Two key areas of focus for NWAC’s MMIWG2S Unit are the Safe Passage initiative and the Indigenous Women’s Safety Council.

Safe Passage Initiative

One of the actions outlined in NWAC’s report Our Calls Our Actions is aimed at tracking new or emerging cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+). The National Inquiry’s Call for Justice 9.5 called for the creation of a national database. In response, NWAC launched the Safe Passage website in 2021.

Through this dedicated website, we are documenting the legacy of systemic violence that creates and maintains the genocide. The scope of the crisis is highlighted on an interactive map, where cases of missing or murdered Indigenous MMIWG2S+ people are tracked. Visitors to the website can visualize the case data, as well as explore the educational materials that are provided. These materials look at the role that sexual exploitation and human trafficking play in the genocide.

In 2022–2023, we expanded the Safe Passage website into a community-driven, trauma-informed, and survivor-centred initiative, complete with a holistic and trauma-informed national MMIWG2S+ database, research and educational tools, and culturally relevant support and care.

Designed to effect transformational change, the initiative continues to document the legacy of systemic violence that creates and maintains the genocide while also holding space for MMIWG2S+ families and survivors to have their stories be heard, believed, valued, and shared on their own terms. The additional data layers provide a more in-depth visualization of the scope of the genocide. The community resources map, new violence prevention toolkits, and Elder and Knowledge Keeper support offer resources for those who seek emotional guidance and support.

The updated version of Safe Passage encompasses the following:

  • monitors ongoing safety concerns through the unsafe experiences reporting tool and map
  • provides distinctions-based safety resources on the community resources map
  • contains over 1,500 immediate and long-term safety resources and can be filtered by region and resource type
  • maps MMIWG2S+ cases by region and type to better educate and inform the Canadian public about the ongoing genocide
  • centres the voices and stories of MMIWG2s+ families and survivors through the Safe Passage stories page, a digital space that commemorates and honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and gender-diverse people
  • provides resources for individuals, industries, and communities that are directly connected to the genocide and provides specific and distinctions-based training and tools
  • includes five new toolkits aimed at violence prevention
  • equips media and journalists to report on the genocide through the media alert system
  • provides Elder and Knowledge Keeper support for individuals who have been impacted by the loss of a missing or murdered loved one
  • provide emotional support and guidance that is grounded in Indigenous Knowledge and healing practices

Indigenous Women’s Safety Council

In spring 2023, NWAC established the Indigenous Women’s Safety Council, which is composed of 18 members from our provincial and territorial member associations.

The Council was created to gather the perspectives, invaluable knowledge, and expertise of grassroots Indigenous women’s organizations. In particular, NWAC invited the Council to share knowledge, views, and concerns on the newly updated Safe Passage website to improve the ability to track missing and murdered cases, enable Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people to report areas and experiences where they feel unsafe, and ensure that they have access to appropriate community resources and supports.

NWAC meets with the Council regularly—thus ensuring that they are at the centre of our efforts to end the genocide.