Thursday, April 2, 2015
A rare meeting with the federal government’s aboriginal affairs minister offended several chiefs to the point that they will no longer communicate with the office until he is removed.
During a March 20 meeting in Calgary with chiefs from several First Nations, Bernard Valcourt told the leaders up to 70% of murdered aboriginal women were killed by aboriginal men. Valcourt said these numbers were in an upcoming RCMP report, but the chiefs say he did not provide any evidence other than his word.
The chiefs found this statistic unusual because the first RCMP report on the subject did not indicate perpetrators’ ethnicities. The report, released last May, said more than 90% knew their killers. It also found that aboriginal women were more likely to be murdered by a casual acquaintance, and less often to be killed by a current or former spouse.
“Mr. Valcourt did not provide us with any evidence. He was challenged by a lot of people who heard him but did not give us any proof,” said Steve Courtoreille, chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations. Courtoreille has been campaigning for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.