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Activist Communique: Operation Thunderbird spreads its protective wings

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 Operation Thunderbird launches a map recording the number of violent encounters Indigenous women have in Canada.

As Canadian activists gear up for another round of February 14th memorials for justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women, a new tech tool has been released to help track Indigenous women's violence and death across Canada.

The new online, interactive map allows users to see the greater picture considering the deaths of Indigenous women in Canada.

The map, which was first released on February 5, 2013, by Anonymous, locates its attention on the Thunder Bay, area. Operation Thunderbird and Anonymous are both greatly concerned for women in that city and critical of the police investigation into the abduction and sexual assault of a First Nations woman.

The project is being crowd-sourced, where the anonymous public can add new or old information to the map, so one woman’s story gets left behind.

Activist Lisa Hart from Manitoba said of the project in an email, “It is so important to gather data on our missing and murdered Native Women, it is an issue that is often ignored and forgotten. For the families, children and friends left behind, it is never forgotten. Now, with the Idle No More movement, there have been attacks on our Native people, and a sexual assault reported on a Native woman in Thunder Bay ON. Racism and marginalization still puts our Women in a dangerous and vulnerable position in this country. Please support this project and the Native women in your life.”

Operation Thunderbird (#OPthunderbird) is especially concerned with the number of attacks against Indigenous women in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This includes the case of a First Nation woman who was attacked as part of a hate motivated crime and threatened due to Idle No More demonstrations in her city.

Operation Thunderbird is a community based organization whose approach is to pledges, “safety for women and medicine for the people.”

You access the map here: https://missingsisters.crowdmap.com/main  

Of the crowd sourcing, map initiative, Tara Williamson stated in an email, “Police forces and other authorities have shirked their responsibilities for too long.  This project is meant to not only shame those authorities into getting the work done, but is also meant to provide an outlet for women, workers, and families to be able to document cases that do not receive ample attention elsewhere.

 This project is being supported at least in part by members of the collective Anonymous.  It is part of #OpThunderbird which started as a way to pressure the Thunder Bay Police to solve the sexual assault of an Indigenous woman in December of 2012.  This woman was brutally beaten and raped, her attackers told her they had done this before and would do it again, and when they left her in the bush to die, they told her she deserved to lose her treaty rights. She lived, walked hours back to the city in the freezing cold, and reported the crime to the police.

 Since the beginning of #OpThunderbird, members of the Anonymous collective have been able to acquire important information about the case and have started to leak it.  They are actively and effectively highlighting the racism and negligence of the Thunder Bay Police Department and are also finding more evidence to build cases.  Supporting this project means supporting a novel plan of action to bring justice to our sisters, aunties, mothers, grandmothers, and daughters.”

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