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An Aboriginal woman backs away from a white man holding a gun on Bentinck Island, Queensland, in Source:News Corp Australia.

It was a terrifying time for Aboriginal women, who had been considered equals to men within their own traditional culture.

As white settlers took over more and more land, the presence of Aboriginal people became a nuisance to them.

An image depicting the violence against Aborigines killed in massacres during the white settlement. Professor Lyndall Ryan at the University of Newcastle is mapping massacres against the Aboriginal people, which she has defined as the indiscriminate killing of six or more undefended people.

She has identified more than massacres of Aboriginal people in eastern Australia and six recorded massacres of colonists between and Farmers argued that the standards applied to European employees were out of place when dealing with Aboriginal workers.

Those who caused trouble or questioned authorities expected little protection from the law, according to Aboriginal oral history.

Many Australians may not realise it, but Aboriginal people were segregated from other non-Aboriginal people until the s — just over 50 years ago.

Theatres and hospitals had sections roped off for Aboriginal people, they were often refused drinks in hotels, and schools could refuse to educate their children.

Later, a referendum on May 27, finally recognised them as Australian citizens and included them in the Census. Demonstration protest rally at Martin Place in Sydney prior to May referendum, campaigning for the right of Aboriginal people to vote in elections.

Source:News Limited. Aboriginal activist Dr Faith Bandler centre with both Aboriginal and white supporters during referendum celebrations.

The effect is violence, violence against us, and in turn our own violence. It is only in the past decade that writers have acknowledged the very important role Aboriginal women played in the first centuries of contact with Europeans and their descendants.

Yet, while their role within Aboriginal society remained relatively stable for some time after contact, all that changed completely with the advent of the residential school system.

The victimization of Aboriginal women accelerated with the introduction after Confederation of residential schools for Aboriginal children.

Children were removed from their families and homes at a young age, some to return eight to 10 years later, some never to return.

The ability to speak Aboriginal languages and the motivation to do so were severely undermined. Aboriginal students were taught to devalue everything Aboriginal and value anything Euro-Canadian.

Many Aboriginal grandparents and parents today are products of the residential school system. The development of parenting skills, normally a significant aspect of their training as children within Aboriginal families, was denied to them by the fact that they were removed from their families and communities, and by the lack of attention paid to the issue by residential schools.

Parenting skills neither were observed nor taught in those institutions. Aboriginal children traditionally learned their parenting skills from their parents through example and daily direction.

That learning process was denied to several generations of Aboriginal parents. In addition to the physical and sexual abuse that Canadians are now hearing took place in residential schools, emotional abuse was the most prevalent and the most severe.

These messages were imparted to Aboriginal children in a sometimes brutal manner. Several presenters also pointed out that residential schools not only removed children from their families, but they also prevented any closeness, even contact, from occurring between siblings and relatives at the same school.

The damage done by residential schools is evident today as Aboriginal people, long deprived of parenting skills, struggle with family responsibilities and attempt to recapture cultural practices and beliefs so long denied.

Grand Chief Dave Courchene Sr. Residential schools taught self-hate. That is child abuse Too many of our people got the message and passed it on.

It is their younger generations that appear before you [in court]. We believe the breakdown of Aboriginal cultural values and the abuse suffered by Aboriginal chidren in the schools contributed to family breakdown.

This began a cycle of abuse in Aboriginal communities, with women and children being the primary victims. The Canadian government also undermined equality between Aboriginal men and women with the legalization of sexist and racist discrimination in successive pieces of legislation.

In it introduced the concept of enfranchisement, whereby Indian people would lose their status as Indians and be treated the same as other Canadians.

For Aboriginal women, this process of enfranchisement had particularly devastating consequences, because the role assigned to Canadian women was one of inferiority and subjugation to the male.

Upon becoming enfranchised, Aboriginal people lost their status under the Indian Act. An Indian woman lost her status automatically upon marrying a man who was not a status Indian.

This was not true for Indian men, whose non-Indian wives gained status as Indians upon marriage. Under subsequent Indian Acts , Indian agents could enfranchise an Indian if he were deemed "progressive.

While Bill C addressed many of these problems, it created new ones in terms of the differential treatment of male and female children of Aboriginal people.

Under the new Act, anomalies can develop where the children of a status Indian woman can pass on status to their children only if they marry registered Indians, whereas the grandchildren of a status male will have full status, despite the fact that one of their parents does not have status.

Chapter 5, on treaty and Aboriginal rights, discusses this problem in detail and outlines steps that must be taken to remedy it.

Aboriginal women traditionally played a prominent role in the consensual decision-making process of their communities.

The Indian Act created the chief and council system of local government. The local Indian agent chaired the meetings of the chief and council, and had the power to remove the chief and council from office.

Aboriginal women were denied any vote in the new system imposed by the Indian Affairs administration. As a result, they were stripped of any formal involvement in the political process.

The segregation of Aboriginal women, both from wider society and from their traditional role as equal and strong members of tribal society, continues to the present day.

This is due partly to the fact that the effects of past discrimination have resulted in the poor socio-economic situation applicable to most Aboriginal women, but it is also attributable to the demeaning image of Aboriginal women that has developed over the years.

North American society has adopted a destructive and stereotypical view of Aboriginal women. The demeaning image of Aboriginal women is rampant in North American culture.

School textbooks have portrayed Aboriginal woman as ill-treated at the hands of Aboriginal men, almost a "beast of burden. The portrayal of the squaw is one of the most degraded, most despised and most dehumanized anywhere in the world.

Such grotesque dehumanization has rendered all Native women and girls vulnerable to gross physical, psychological and sexual violence In a book used by the program, Paula Gunn Allen explains about "recovering the feminine in American Indian traditions":.

For the past 40 or 50 years, American popular media have depicted American Indian men as bloodthirsty savages devoted to treating women cruelly.

Image casting and image control constitute the central process that American Indian women must come to terms with, for on that control rests our sense of self, our claim to a past and to a future that we define and that we build Both presentations compared lurid newspaper coverage of the Helen Betty Osborne murder in The Pas to the more straightforward and sympathetic coverage of the killing of a young non-Aboriginal woman in Winnipeg.

We consider societal attitudes to be an issue that this Inquiry must address. While we do not subscribe to the view that there is differential treatment, we are disturbed enough by the perception to suggest that it needs to be addressed.

At the heart of the problem is the belief that, fundamentally, justice authorities do not understand, and do not wish to understand, the unique issues facing Aboriginal women.

In order to address the underlying problems that give rise to this perception, the public generally, and those within the justice system specifically, need to be educated about those issues by Aboriginal women.

Elsewhere in this report we have recommended that cross-cultural training be provided to a variety of individuals involved in the justice system.

We would like to make it clear that Aboriginal women must play a central role in the development and delivery of those programs. Unfortunately, Aboriginal men, over the centuries, have adopted the same attitude toward women as the European.

As a result, the cultural and social degradation of Aboriginal women has been devastating. The status of Aboriginal women in the city of Winnipeg is particularly disturbing.

Poverty is an unmistakable factor in the lives of Manitoba Native women and children. Poverty has been shown to be positively correlated with conflict with the law, low levels of education, decreased opportunity for employment, and a low level of health.

While the "official" unemployment rate has been estimated at This history of social, economic and cultural oppression should be seen as the backdrop for our discussion of Aboriginal women as both victims and offenders in the Manitoba justice system.

The presentations of Aboriginal women were blunt and direct. Violence and abuse in Aboriginal communities has reached epidemic proportions. This violence takes a number of forms.

Sometimes it involves physical assaults between adult males. They wished to expose the level of sexual abuse and to end the silence that is leaving women and children unprotected.

Aboriginal women saw sexual abuse as a tragedy. I believe sexual violence is best explained by sexism and misogyny which is nurtured and inherent in patriarchy.

Rape in any culture and by any standards is warfare against women. Finally, she commented on the difficulty Aboriginal women experience in addressing this issue: "I know we have shied away from dealing with the [Native community abuse] issue partly because we had to fend off racism and stereotypes.

The victimization of Aboriginal women has not only been manifested in their abuse, but also in the manner in which Aboriginal female victims are treated.

Women victims often suffer unsympathetic treatment from those who should be there to help them. We heard one example of such treatment from the Aboriginal mother of a year-old rape victim.

She told of how the police came to her home after her daughter had reported being raped and had undergone hospital examination and police questioning.

The police told the mother that her daughter was lying and should be charged with public mischief.

In past times it was the abusers who were shunned; now it is the complainant who is shunned. The directorate told us of one woman who.

In her adult life, she had all the signs of an abused person although she had not been physically abused.

She suffers from low self-esteem and being unable to believe she is loveable. Spousal Abuse TOP. One study presented to our Inquiry stated that while one in 10 women in Canada is abused by her partner, for Aboriginal women the figure is closer to one in three.

Seventy-four per cent of those women indicated they did not seek help. The Thompson Crisis Centre stated that, generally, women are abused at least 20 times before seeking help.

There are currently no statistics that indicate the number of complaints which result in a charge being laid. According to the report of the Manitoba Association of Women and the Law, some improvements have been made since They complained of the lack of understanding of the problem by officers, and their lack of sensitivity.

They believe the police do not understand the situation of the abused woman and the needs of children. More than one woman who spoke to us told of complaining to the police, only to become the one removed from the home.

This happened in spite of the fact that young children were left in the care of an intoxicated father. Others told of situations where police attended in the home, saw the situation was calm when they were there and told the woman everything would be all right.

When the police left, the violence became worse than before. With such lack of support from police authorities, it is not surprising that women suffer in silence.

From this information, it is clear that women in abusive situations, particularly in isolated communities in northern Manitoba, do not feel confident in turning to the justice system.

We were told that many abused Aboriginal women did not feel safe enough even to bring their personal stories before the Inquiry.

Testimony presented to us by the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women in Thompson made it clear why this was the case:.

A man who beat his sister with a length of wood and who had a record of previous convictions for violent acts, was sentenced to seven months.

A man who severely beat his common law wife, smashing her face against a fence, kicking her in the face, and slamming her face against the wall, before dragging her into a house, was sentenced to five months in jail, to be followed by probation after his release.

Both these offenders were going to return to their home communities after serving their sentences. Reporting the crime to police authorities provides a temporary respite at best if the causes of abuse are not dealt with.

The experience of staff at the Thompson Crisis Centre in assisting women who finally do report abuse is that police officers do not consider spousal assault as a serious crime.

While almost half of all victims felt threatened enough by the violence to involve the police, half of those who did not report felt fearful of retaliation by the offender if they did involve the police.

For some, the risk of having the abuser removed from the home, or involving the family in the justice system, would be worse than risking further violence.

Some women seem to feel that the solution to the violence does not lie with the criminal justice system. In some cases, the Aboriginal woman making the complaint may be too frightened to testify.

Should she decline to do so, she faces the risk of being charged with contempt of court. Aboriginal women said they would be more likely to lay charges and testify if someone were available to explain the court procedure to them, and if they were given emotional support throughout the proceedings.

Crisis shelter workers affirmed the experience Aboriginal women have in dealing with the justice system:.

In northern, isolated reserve communities, the abused woman is placed in a more difficult situation when the question of calling the police arises.

If she calls the police, it may take a day or longer for them to arrive. If they arrive while a party is going on, they may refuse to remove the offender or may simply drive him down the road, from where he can return again, only angrier.

There is a lack of housing for families in isolated communities and no "safe house" available for women and children trying to escape an abusive man.

They may be forced to spend the night in the bush, or be forced to leave the reserve entirely. Professor LaRocque points out that women move to urban centres to escape family or community problems.

Men, on the other hand, cite employment as the reason for moving. In the new setting Aboriginal women experience personal, systemic, subtle and overt racial discrimination.

What they are forced to run to is often as bad as what they had to run from. Why they feel they have to leave is a matter worthy of comment.

Most chiefs and council members are male and often exhibit bias in favour of the male partner in a domestic abuse situation.

This can effectively chase the woman from her home and community. The unwillingness of chiefs and councils to address the plight of women and children suffering abuse at the hands of husbands and fathers is quite alarming.

We are concerned enough about it to state that we believe that the failure of Aboriginal government leaders to deal at all with the problem of domestic abuse is unconscionable.

We believe that there is a heavy responsibility on Aboriginal leaders to recognize the significance of the problem within their own communities.

They must begin to recognize, as well, how much their silence and failure to act actually contribute to the problem. Aboriginal leaders must speak out against abuse within their communities to their own community members, and they must take steps within their own spheres of community influence to assist the true victims.

Women and children who report abuse should never feel they have to leave their communities in order to feel safe.

Aboriginal communities and their leaders must do what is possible to make the home communities of abused women and children havens from abuse.

The problem of abuse is dealt with presently by women either staying on the reserves and putting up with the abuse, or leaving their communities to live elsewhere, just to escape from it.

It is clear, however, that most would prefer to stay in their home communities if they could be protected. Aboriginal women would like to see arbitration and community support systems in place in their communities.

This is another area in which the development of local resources is badly needed. Aboriginal leadership must ensure that it is sought and governments must ensure that it is provided.

There is no equal division of property upon marriage breakdown recognized under the Indian Act. This has to be rectified.

While we recognize that amending the Indian Act is not a high priority for either the federal government or the Aboriginal leadership of Canada, we do believe that this matter warrants immediate attention.

At the provincial level, Aboriginal leaders must begin to support the types of programs which assist Aboriginal women and children to report abuse and to get help for its effects.

The silence and inactivity of Aboriginal leadership on this issue cannot continue. It amounts to a denial of responsibility.

Police forces must join forces with social workers in developing a comprehensive response to domestic violence. In urban communities, we recommend the establishment of abuse teams made up of one or two police officers and a social worker trained in the area of family violence.

When a complaint of a disturbance between partners is received, this team should be dispatched. It should be sufficiently expert to be able to assess the situation and to take the appropriate action.

A report of the team should be placed on computer. The report should explain the difficulty and should record any issues that should be considered or anticipated in any subsequent attendance.

Before going out on a complaint, the team should examine the record to see if the family has had previous problems. This information might play a part in the steps taken by a team on a second attendance.

We heard of reports of repeated assaults, some leading to death. It is our belief that preventive policing by an abuse team may be able to catch volatile situations and deal with them before the violence escalates.

If there are peacemakers or other support groups in a community, the abuse team might be able to obtain the agreement of the parties to go to them for help.

The abuse team should monitor the progress of the family. Such teams should make extensive use of electronic record-keeping and community resources.

There are now 10 shelters for abused women located in Manitoba, with the 11th due to open in Dauphin in the fall of There is also a provincial toll-free crisis line which provides immediate and culturally sensitive counselling and referral to women in abusive situations.

The provincial Family Disputes Services branch supports the crisis line and provides each of the shelters with core funding and a per-diem overnight rate per person.

Shelters are established to offer a secure environment where the abused are safe from the abuser. Trained counsellors are available to assist the women and children.

In some towns, local crisis committees operate safe homes where a woman and her children may stay until space in an approved shelter is available.

These homes may either be the homes of volunteers or a motel. The Income Security Program of the Department of Family Services pays a much lower per-diem rate per person than is allocated by the Family Disputes Services branch for shelters.

The branch does not support safe homes financially because it believes that it does not have a secure environment to keep the abuser from the abused, nor any trained counsellors.

We find such a policy to be working adversely against Aboriginal communities where the need for a separate shelter may not be sufficiently large to justify the establishment of one, but where having safe houses to provide occasional relief would create a needed community-based resource.

Second-stage housing offers self-contained accommodation for women and children for a period of one year. During this time, women benefit from individual and group sessions to enhance self-esteem, to heal from abuse, to begin family counselling, to learn new parenting skills, and to undertake employment preparation training and assistance.

The contrast in services provided to Aboriginal women is shocking: there are no Aboriginal shelters, other than one in Winnipeg, no Aboriginal safe homes and no Aboriginal second-stage housing anywhere.

The only shelter established and directed by Aboriginal people is Ikwe Widdjiitiwin in Winnipeg. It is designed to deal exclusively with the unique cultural and social issues of Aboriginal women.

Ikwe Widdjiitiwin seeks to provide women with crisis support, supplemented with programs designed to empower Aboriginal women. As we were told numerous times, women who wish to escape an abusive home must leave the reserve community and go to the town or city.

We consider this tragic and unacceptable. In situations where it is unsafe to leave the victim in the home, there should be shelters or safe houses in Aboriginal communities to which the victim can go.

These shelters should be controlled by Aboriginal women who can provide culturally appropriate services. Counselling and support for the victims of abuse are essential.

Of course, stopping the abuse is the best possible solution and may lead to a continuation of the family unit.

If it appears that abuse is likely to continue, the victim should be assisted to terminate the relationship. This cannot be done without a great deal of local support.

We believe that if communities make it known that physical or sexual abuse will not be tolerated and that offenders will be dealt with harshly, there will be a significant reduction in abuse.

Traditional Aboriginal means of punishment may be particularly helpful in these situations. Public ridicule and shunning, if applied with the support of the leadership in a community, may be as effective a deterrent as imprisonment.

The physical or sexual abuse of a family member, or of anyone else for that matter, must be treated as extremely serious. The community must support that attitude.

The support of chiefs and councillors is needed to provided the necessary feeling of security to women in Aboriginal communities. The local police, whether they be band constables or members of an Aboriginal police force, members of the City police forces or the RCMP, should be encouraged to remove offenders at the first sign of abuse.

We were told by a number of Aboriginal women that when a woman who has been abused calls the police, the police usually come to the home to investigate.

If there are clear signs of abuse and the man is still in a foul humour, the man may be arrested and removed. Too often, however, the man is left in the home and the woman is encouraged to leave the home and seek refuge in a shelter, if there is one, or in the home of a friend or relative.

The emphasis in the past seems to have been to encourage an abused woman to go to a shelter. It is the abuser who should leave, if anyone has to.

There should be support groups in every community that will assist the abused woman to stay in the home and to have the abuser removed.

Child Abuse TOP. The most disturbing aspect of all this is child abuse. This abuse is both physical and sexual. All cultural groups have prohibitions against incest and sexual interference with children, but adherence to those rules appears to have broken down both in the broader Canadian society and in Aboriginal society in Manitoba.

Sally Longstaffe, of the Child Advocacy Project with the Child Protection Centre, appeared before us and spoke of the problems society has had in coming to grips with sexual abuse.

The problem of child sexual assault is one that has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. Due to the rapid rise in reported instances of child sexual abuse, the demand for knowledge on the subject far exceeds supply.

The knowledge that currently exists is rapidly changing as it undergoes examination and refinement by various professionals in the human service field.

Longstaffe described the study that involved a detailed investigation into the cases of Manitoba children both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

Although there was medical evidence to support a belief that the children had been sexually abused, in 85 cases charges were never laid or were dismissed.

Longstaffe said that the situations facing Aboriginal children on reserves were particularly worrisome. The children often were the victims of multiple assaults from numerous, and often related, individuals, and often were threatened if they took their complaints to the authorities.

In reserve communities, the lack of communication between social agencies, and the lack of connection between the community and the justice system, led to a number of disturbing consequences.

The need for bold action is apparent. Children are suffering from trauma, physical injury, and psychological devastation that result from sexual abuse.

The injuries to self-esteem, trust, and emotional functioning last a lifetime. The incidence of sniffing, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, suicide, depression, and sexual acting out among Indian children suggest that the problem of child sexual abuse has reached epidemic proportions.

The statistics examined by the project show that the court system is not the answer in all situations. Two-thirds of the children it looked at who were removed from unsafe homes were returned eventually to those homes by the courts, or were placed in a setting where the offender had direct or indirect access to them.

The project suggests the use of elders in responding to Aboriginal child sexual abuse. It suggests there are several merits to this approach:. Elders command the respect necessary to mobilize reserve communities to deal with the problem.

As well, their position in the community is well-suited to both confronting the offender and consulting ongoing treatment strategies for the offender with collaboration information and support from other treatment resources.

Most importantly, elders are a source of expertise and credibility in performing the task of blending modern clinical expertise and theoretical knowledge with the traditional values of their people.

The causes of sexual assault are complex and difficult to ascertain. Feelings of anger and frustration, and the need for a feeling of power or dominance over another, may partly explain this activity.

Certainly, alcohol plays a major part, as many people do things under the influence of alcohol they would not normally do.

Children are easy targets for angry parents, and often verbal and then physical abuse are directed towards them.

They are in a difficult position to resist physical attacks or sexual advances from a parent or an older relative. While some of the history we spoke of earlier may offer some explanations for such unacceptable conduct, and even if that conduct is part of the legacy of colonization, we wish to make it clear that we find none of the explanations an excuse for the manner in which Aboriginal women and children are treated.

The social cost of child sexual abuse is higher than we can imagine. These child victims continue to be victimized throughout their lives.

The burden of this victimization is preventing many Indian children from becoming the healthy, functioning adults they might otherwise be. The failure of the social, medical, and legal systems to provide a safe environment for the normal development of these children perpetuates the existence of future generations of victims.

It is time to break the cycle of victimization. It is time to break the long standing pattern of non-action on reserve-based child sexual abuse.

Quite simply, it is time for a new justice for Indian children. All rural detachments of the RCMP should receive additional training in child sexual abuse and the investigation of such cases.

As well, RCMP training efforts in this area should be designed to include local tribal police for the dual purpose of maintaining a close relationship and providing these officers with proper information.

Training should include the role of the peace officer in a multidisciplinary team Such a program would address the issue of consistency, ie: having the same Crown attorney throughout the case , as well as developing a working relationship with local Justice Committees.

One possible option would be to hire legal assistants or paralegals to be based on the reserves for the purpose of facilitating a logical and orderly collaboration on each case.

The possibility of developing Tribal Courts should, in our view, be explored by examining the relative success of such in other jurisdictions That a program be initiated to promote the use of a multidisciplinary team approach on every reserve in Manitoba.

The focus of such an approach would be tribal elders in conjunction with the local child-caring agency, the local Child Care Committee, and the local Justice and other pertinent Committees.

By using such mechanisms as a foundation for a community-based approach, non-native institutions and methods can be adapted to use in reserve communities.

If such teams demonstrate leadership and a willingness to act, legal and medical professionals from the white system can play a supportive rather than controlling role It is recommended that there be considerable new resources committed toward developing a treatment capacity in each reserve, for offenders and victims, such resources currently being negligible.

The logical vehicle for providing treatment is the local child-care agency, with advice and support from community elders, or perhaps a larger council of elders.

Much needed culturally based prevention personal safety programs could then be developed for use in reserve schools It is recommended that child-caring agencies with the responsibility for the protection of Indian children place a big priority on developing greater numbers of safe placement options for children.

This includes the careful scrutiny of current placement options, as well as possible extended family placements.

The development of innovative new safe places for child victims is an undertaking that would optimally be conducted in conjunction with Child Care Committees and multidisciplinary teams as they become operative.

We accept the findings and echo the recommendations of the Child Advocacy Project. Provincial, federal and community governments must jointly develop and implement resources and programs to deal with this most serious of problems.

Longstaffe told us that there were also positive developments and that these generally occurred where community leaders and elders played a crucial role in enforcing community discipline.

We had one situation in the course of this study where one of our elders had a sexual abuse situation that came to light in her own community during the course of the study and where, after some informal discussion, the community decided on its own to try to provide a ring of protection around potential victims.

And this process, although informal, seemed to be very effective and was carried out over many months with success, we thought.

Women told us of painful experiences in seeking help to escape an abusive home, and of their wish for help to keep the family together.

They emphasized that Aboriginally designed and directed programs were what they wanted to assist them; they believed that only Aboriginal services would emphasize healing within the family and keeping the family together within the home community.

Aboriginal women did not feel comfortable with counselling that tended to exclude the abuser from any treatment process and appears to stressed the necessity of the woman leaving her husband.

Glennis Smith of the Zeebeequa Society, a group of Aboriginal women who seek to protect women and children at Roseau River, explained: "Abuse in general, and violence, it is a disease and it can be treated.

We cannot forget, even our offenders have one time been victims of these types of abuses. Aboriginal women, we are told, generally want to "fix" the problem and stay with their partner.

They believe this can be done by programs that treat the whole family. Their philosophy is that strong, healthy families make strong, healthy communities.

While they agree that some short-term crisis intervention often is needed, they want to go from that point to one where there is treatment provided for the family as a unit, including both the parents and the children.

Aboriginal women ask for treatment that will focus on the whole person and the whole family unit. They believe this approach must include traditional Aboriginal teachings and healing.

To achieve that type of an approach, the leaders of programs must themselves be Aboriginal people with some skills or training.

We agree that, instead of sending all abusers to jail, there should be a careful screening process. Where jail does not appear to be the best answer to the situation, we suggest that abusers be required to attend a culturally appropriate treatment program with other members of the family.

We believe this will be more effective than fines, restraining orders or community service orders. The women who spoke to us called for Aboriginally designed and directed programs, similar to those at Alkali Lake, B.

It is worthwhile to examine the history and success of these developments. In Alkali Lake, an Aboriginal community in British Columbia, one family turned from alcohol and began a change that affected the whole community.

One by one, members of the community rejected the consumption of alcohol as an acceptable practice. Some alcohol abusers were even asked to leave the community.

With the reduction in alcohol consumption abuse, crime declined, and energies were turned toward developing economic opportunities. Alkali Lake has developed an Aboriginal model of healing and self-actualization called "Flying on Your Own.

In many ways, Aboriginal communities lead the rest of the province in addressing the consequences of sexual abuse and in devising imaginative ways, based on Aboriginal traditions, to deal with it.

Hollow Water, Seymourville, Agaming and Manigotogan have taken a lead in dealing with sexual abuse cases in their communities by establishing the Hollow Water Resource Group.

The emphasis in these communities is on healing and restitution, rather than on punishment. It uses the authority of the legal system when necessary, but concentrates on restoring harmony and balance to the family and the community by healing both the victim and the offender.

The Hollow Water Resource Group told us that their program began as a community workshop, organized by a few people who had survived lives of abuse.

About 60 people met and were asked how many ever had been abused. Two-thirds said that they had been. A startling one-third admitted that they had victimized someone else.

All agreed that something had to be done to help their communities. The courts were giving sentences considered by the communities to be both too lenient and inappropriate.

At the same time, there was no treatment for an offender who was jailed. The group devised a plan of action. When a person in the community is charged with abuse, whether the abuse is physical or sexual, the RCMP are notified and invited to attend a meeting of the Assessment Team.

The team discusses the reported abuse and ensures the protection of the child. According to the resource group, the emphasis is on "protection, support and healing of the victim If so, the matter proceeds normally through the court system, and the group may become involved at the court level.

It has found that even when a matter is resolved in the court system and proceeds to disposition, there is a role for it to play in assisting the court to determine the best manner of disposing of the case.

She accommodated that recommendation in her sentence.

Hot aboriginal women Andere Artikel ansehen. Hauptinhalt Bae doona nude. Indigenous Art throughout Australia, Fairfield Petite redhead pornstar, Ausst. Käufer haben sich auch folgende Artikel angesehen. Cochrane, G. Mehr zum Thema - wird in neuem Fenster Horny swedish Tab geöffnet.

She has identified more than massacres of Aboriginal people in eastern Australia and six recorded massacres of colonists between and Farmers argued that the standards applied to European employees were out of place when dealing with Aboriginal workers.

Those who caused trouble or questioned authorities expected little protection from the law, according to Aboriginal oral history.

Many Australians may not realise it, but Aboriginal people were segregated from other non-Aboriginal people until the s — just over 50 years ago.

Theatres and hospitals had sections roped off for Aboriginal people, they were often refused drinks in hotels, and schools could refuse to educate their children.

Later, a referendum on May 27, finally recognised them as Australian citizens and included them in the Census. Demonstration protest rally at Martin Place in Sydney prior to May referendum, campaigning for the right of Aboriginal people to vote in elections.

Source:News Limited. Aboriginal activist Dr Faith Bandler centre with both Aboriginal and white supporters during referendum celebrations.

Continue the conversation charischang2 charis. To join the conversation, please Log in. Don't have an account? Sign up.

Join the conversation, you are commenting as Logout. Log in Sign up. Aboriginal women and their children suffer tremendously as victims in contemporary Canadian society.

They are the victims of racism, of sexism and of unconscionable levels of domestic violence. The justice system has done little to protect them from any of these assaults.

At the same time, Aboriginal women have an even higher rate of over-representation in the prison system than Aboriginal men.

In community after community, Aboriginal women brought these disturbing facts to our attention. We believe the plight of Aboriginal women and their children must be a priority for any changes in the justice system.

In addition, we believe that changes must be based on the proposals that Aboriginal women presented to us throughout our Inquiry. Women traditionally played a central role within the Aboriginal family, within Aboriginal government and in spiritual ceremonies.

Men and women enjoyed considerable personal autonomy and both performed functions vital to the survival of Aboriginal communities. The men were responsible for providing food, shelter and clothing.

Women were responsible for the domestic sphere and were viewed as both life-givers and the caretakers of life. As a result, women were responsible for the early socialization of children.

Traditional Aboriginal society experienced very little family breakdown. Husbands and wives were expected to respect and honour one another, and to care for one another with honesty and kindness.

In matriarchal societies, such as of the Mohawk, women were honoured for their wisdom and vision. Aboriginal men also respected women for the sacred gifts which they believed the Creator had given to them.

In Aboriginal teachings, passed on through the oral histories of the Aboriginal people of this province from generation to generation, Aboriginal men and women were equal in power and each had autonomy within their personal lives.

Women figured centrally in almost all Aboriginal creation legends. In Ojibway and Cree legends, it was a woman who came to earth through a hole in the sky to care for the earth.

It was a woman, Nokomis grandmother , who taught Original Man Anishinabe, an Ojibway word meaning "human being" about the medicines of the earth and about technology.

When a traditional Ojibway person prays, thanks is given and the pipe is raised in each of the four directions, then to Mother Earth as well as to Grandfather, Mishomis, in the sky.

To the Ojibway, the earth is woman, the Mother of the people, and her hair, the sweetgrass, is braided and used in ceremonies.

It is through the pipe that prayer is carried by its smoke upwards to the Creator in their most sacred ceremonies. The strength that Aboriginal peoples gain today from their traditional teachings and their cultures comes from centuries of oral tradition and Aboriginal teachings, which emphasized the equality of man and woman and the balanced roles of both in the continuation of life.

Such teachings hold promise for the future of the Aboriginal community as a whole. We have been told that more and more young Aboriginal people are turning to the beliefs and values of Aboriginal traditions to find answers for the problems which they are facing in this day and age.

Since the coming of the Anglo-Europeans beginning in the fifteenth century, the fragile web of identity that long held tribal people secure has gradually been weakened and torn.

But the oral tradition has prevented the complete destruction of the web, the ultimate disruption of tribal ways.

The oral tradition is vital: it heals itself and the tribal web by adapting to the flow of the present while never relinquishing its connection to the past.

This revival is necessitated, in large measure, by the assault that Aboriginal culture has experienced during the last century. Women were never considered inferior in Aboriginal society until Europeans arrived.

Women had few rights in European society at the time of first contact with Aboriginal people. Men were considered their social, legal and political masters.

Any rights which women had were those derived through their husbands. The law of England, for example, held that women did not have the right to vote, to own property or to enter into contracts.

This attitude was ultimately reflected in the Indian Act, which blatantly discriminated against women. This attitude toward women continued until relatively recently in Canada.

Women had to fight battles in this century to win the right to vote and to be recognized as legal persons, and it was only within the past few decades that the final legal restrictions upon their right to contract and own property were lifted.

The imposition of new values and cultural standards brought about tremendous historical, social and economic changes which, for the most part, were destructive to Aboriginal communities.

Sally Longstaffe of the Child Protection Centre has written:. The razing of Indian societies and their traditions is well-documented. Symptoms of this dislocation are evident in high rates of unemployment, suicide, alcoholism, domestic violence, and other social problems.

This loss of tradition has seriously damaged the oral means of preserving cultural norms, and the values which prohibit deviant behaviours have been obscured and often forgotten.

Economic factors served as the initial catalyst for change within Aboriginal societies. Aboriginal people were first directed away from hunting into the economic order of the fur trade society.

Gradually, more and more of them became removed from the land and went into settlements with a welfare economy. These changes to Aboriginal lifestyle distorted the traditional Aboriginal male and female roles.

Cultural changes resulting from the economic factors at play had their greatest impact on the role of Aboriginal women. For Aboriginal women, European economic and cultural expansion was especially destructive.

Their value as equal partners in tribal society was undermined completely. The Aboriginal inmates in Kingston Prison for Women described the result this way:.

The critical difference is racism. We are born to it and spend our lives facing it. Racism lies at the root of our life experiences.

The effect is violence, violence against us, and in turn our own violence. It is only in the past decade that writers have acknowledged the very important role Aboriginal women played in the first centuries of contact with Europeans and their descendants.

Yet, while their role within Aboriginal society remained relatively stable for some time after contact, all that changed completely with the advent of the residential school system.

The victimization of Aboriginal women accelerated with the introduction after Confederation of residential schools for Aboriginal children.

Children were removed from their families and homes at a young age, some to return eight to 10 years later, some never to return.

The ability to speak Aboriginal languages and the motivation to do so were severely undermined. Aboriginal students were taught to devalue everything Aboriginal and value anything Euro-Canadian.

Many Aboriginal grandparents and parents today are products of the residential school system. The development of parenting skills, normally a significant aspect of their training as children within Aboriginal families, was denied to them by the fact that they were removed from their families and communities, and by the lack of attention paid to the issue by residential schools.

Parenting skills neither were observed nor taught in those institutions. Aboriginal children traditionally learned their parenting skills from their parents through example and daily direction.

That learning process was denied to several generations of Aboriginal parents. In addition to the physical and sexual abuse that Canadians are now hearing took place in residential schools, emotional abuse was the most prevalent and the most severe.

These messages were imparted to Aboriginal children in a sometimes brutal manner. Several presenters also pointed out that residential schools not only removed children from their families, but they also prevented any closeness, even contact, from occurring between siblings and relatives at the same school.

The damage done by residential schools is evident today as Aboriginal people, long deprived of parenting skills, struggle with family responsibilities and attempt to recapture cultural practices and beliefs so long denied.

Grand Chief Dave Courchene Sr. Residential schools taught self-hate. That is child abuse Too many of our people got the message and passed it on.

It is their younger generations that appear before you [in court]. We believe the breakdown of Aboriginal cultural values and the abuse suffered by Aboriginal chidren in the schools contributed to family breakdown.

This began a cycle of abuse in Aboriginal communities, with women and children being the primary victims. The Canadian government also undermined equality between Aboriginal men and women with the legalization of sexist and racist discrimination in successive pieces of legislation.

In it introduced the concept of enfranchisement, whereby Indian people would lose their status as Indians and be treated the same as other Canadians.

For Aboriginal women, this process of enfranchisement had particularly devastating consequences, because the role assigned to Canadian women was one of inferiority and subjugation to the male.

Upon becoming enfranchised, Aboriginal people lost their status under the Indian Act. An Indian woman lost her status automatically upon marrying a man who was not a status Indian.

This was not true for Indian men, whose non-Indian wives gained status as Indians upon marriage. Under subsequent Indian Acts , Indian agents could enfranchise an Indian if he were deemed "progressive.

While Bill C addressed many of these problems, it created new ones in terms of the differential treatment of male and female children of Aboriginal people.

Under the new Act, anomalies can develop where the children of a status Indian woman can pass on status to their children only if they marry registered Indians, whereas the grandchildren of a status male will have full status, despite the fact that one of their parents does not have status.

Chapter 5, on treaty and Aboriginal rights, discusses this problem in detail and outlines steps that must be taken to remedy it.

Aboriginal women traditionally played a prominent role in the consensual decision-making process of their communities.

The Indian Act created the chief and council system of local government. The local Indian agent chaired the meetings of the chief and council, and had the power to remove the chief and council from office.

Aboriginal women were denied any vote in the new system imposed by the Indian Affairs administration. As a result, they were stripped of any formal involvement in the political process.

The segregation of Aboriginal women, both from wider society and from their traditional role as equal and strong members of tribal society, continues to the present day.

This is due partly to the fact that the effects of past discrimination have resulted in the poor socio-economic situation applicable to most Aboriginal women, but it is also attributable to the demeaning image of Aboriginal women that has developed over the years.

North American society has adopted a destructive and stereotypical view of Aboriginal women. The demeaning image of Aboriginal women is rampant in North American culture.

School textbooks have portrayed Aboriginal woman as ill-treated at the hands of Aboriginal men, almost a "beast of burden.

The portrayal of the squaw is one of the most degraded, most despised and most dehumanized anywhere in the world. Such grotesque dehumanization has rendered all Native women and girls vulnerable to gross physical, psychological and sexual violence In a book used by the program, Paula Gunn Allen explains about "recovering the feminine in American Indian traditions":.

For the past 40 or 50 years, American popular media have depicted American Indian men as bloodthirsty savages devoted to treating women cruelly.

Image casting and image control constitute the central process that American Indian women must come to terms with, for on that control rests our sense of self, our claim to a past and to a future that we define and that we build Both presentations compared lurid newspaper coverage of the Helen Betty Osborne murder in The Pas to the more straightforward and sympathetic coverage of the killing of a young non-Aboriginal woman in Winnipeg.

We consider societal attitudes to be an issue that this Inquiry must address. While we do not subscribe to the view that there is differential treatment, we are disturbed enough by the perception to suggest that it needs to be addressed.

At the heart of the problem is the belief that, fundamentally, justice authorities do not understand, and do not wish to understand, the unique issues facing Aboriginal women.

In order to address the underlying problems that give rise to this perception, the public generally, and those within the justice system specifically, need to be educated about those issues by Aboriginal women.

Elsewhere in this report we have recommended that cross-cultural training be provided to a variety of individuals involved in the justice system.

We would like to make it clear that Aboriginal women must play a central role in the development and delivery of those programs. Unfortunately, Aboriginal men, over the centuries, have adopted the same attitude toward women as the European.

As a result, the cultural and social degradation of Aboriginal women has been devastating. The status of Aboriginal women in the city of Winnipeg is particularly disturbing.

Poverty is an unmistakable factor in the lives of Manitoba Native women and children. Poverty has been shown to be positively correlated with conflict with the law, low levels of education, decreased opportunity for employment, and a low level of health.

While the "official" unemployment rate has been estimated at This history of social, economic and cultural oppression should be seen as the backdrop for our discussion of Aboriginal women as both victims and offenders in the Manitoba justice system.

The presentations of Aboriginal women were blunt and direct. Violence and abuse in Aboriginal communities has reached epidemic proportions.

This violence takes a number of forms. Sometimes it involves physical assaults between adult males. They wished to expose the level of sexual abuse and to end the silence that is leaving women and children unprotected.

Aboriginal women saw sexual abuse as a tragedy. I believe sexual violence is best explained by sexism and misogyny which is nurtured and inherent in patriarchy.

Rape in any culture and by any standards is warfare against women. Finally, she commented on the difficulty Aboriginal women experience in addressing this issue: "I know we have shied away from dealing with the [Native community abuse] issue partly because we had to fend off racism and stereotypes.

The victimization of Aboriginal women has not only been manifested in their abuse, but also in the manner in which Aboriginal female victims are treated.

Women victims often suffer unsympathetic treatment from those who should be there to help them. We heard one example of such treatment from the Aboriginal mother of a year-old rape victim.

She told of how the police came to her home after her daughter had reported being raped and had undergone hospital examination and police questioning.

The police told the mother that her daughter was lying and should be charged with public mischief. In past times it was the abusers who were shunned; now it is the complainant who is shunned.

The directorate told us of one woman who. In her adult life, she had all the signs of an abused person although she had not been physically abused.

She suffers from low self-esteem and being unable to believe she is loveable. Spousal Abuse TOP. One study presented to our Inquiry stated that while one in 10 women in Canada is abused by her partner, for Aboriginal women the figure is closer to one in three.

Seventy-four per cent of those women indicated they did not seek help. The Thompson Crisis Centre stated that, generally, women are abused at least 20 times before seeking help.

There are currently no statistics that indicate the number of complaints which result in a charge being laid.

According to the report of the Manitoba Association of Women and the Law, some improvements have been made since They complained of the lack of understanding of the problem by officers, and their lack of sensitivity.

They believe the police do not understand the situation of the abused woman and the needs of children. More than one woman who spoke to us told of complaining to the police, only to become the one removed from the home.

This happened in spite of the fact that young children were left in the care of an intoxicated father. Others told of situations where police attended in the home, saw the situation was calm when they were there and told the woman everything would be all right.

When the police left, the violence became worse than before. With such lack of support from police authorities, it is not surprising that women suffer in silence.

From this information, it is clear that women in abusive situations, particularly in isolated communities in northern Manitoba, do not feel confident in turning to the justice system.

We were told that many abused Aboriginal women did not feel safe enough even to bring their personal stories before the Inquiry.

Testimony presented to us by the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women in Thompson made it clear why this was the case:.

A man who beat his sister with a length of wood and who had a record of previous convictions for violent acts, was sentenced to seven months.

A man who severely beat his common law wife, smashing her face against a fence, kicking her in the face, and slamming her face against the wall, before dragging her into a house, was sentenced to five months in jail, to be followed by probation after his release.

Both these offenders were going to return to their home communities after serving their sentences. Reporting the crime to police authorities provides a temporary respite at best if the causes of abuse are not dealt with.

The experience of staff at the Thompson Crisis Centre in assisting women who finally do report abuse is that police officers do not consider spousal assault as a serious crime.

While almost half of all victims felt threatened enough by the violence to involve the police, half of those who did not report felt fearful of retaliation by the offender if they did involve the police.

For some, the risk of having the abuser removed from the home, or involving the family in the justice system, would be worse than risking further violence.

Some women seem to feel that the solution to the violence does not lie with the criminal justice system. In some cases, the Aboriginal woman making the complaint may be too frightened to testify.

Should she decline to do so, she faces the risk of being charged with contempt of court. Aboriginal women said they would be more likely to lay charges and testify if someone were available to explain the court procedure to them, and if they were given emotional support throughout the proceedings.

Crisis shelter workers affirmed the experience Aboriginal women have in dealing with the justice system:. In northern, isolated reserve communities, the abused woman is placed in a more difficult situation when the question of calling the police arises.

If she calls the police, it may take a day or longer for them to arrive. If they arrive while a party is going on, they may refuse to remove the offender or may simply drive him down the road, from where he can return again, only angrier.

There is a lack of housing for families in isolated communities and no "safe house" available for women and children trying to escape an abusive man.

They may be forced to spend the night in the bush, or be forced to leave the reserve entirely. Professor LaRocque points out that women move to urban centres to escape family or community problems.

Men, on the other hand, cite employment as the reason for moving. In the new setting Aboriginal women experience personal, systemic, subtle and overt racial discrimination.

What they are forced to run to is often as bad as what they had to run from. Why they feel they have to leave is a matter worthy of comment.

Most chiefs and council members are male and often exhibit bias in favour of the male partner in a domestic abuse situation. This can effectively chase the woman from her home and community.

The unwillingness of chiefs and councils to address the plight of women and children suffering abuse at the hands of husbands and fathers is quite alarming.

We are concerned enough about it to state that we believe that the failure of Aboriginal government leaders to deal at all with the problem of domestic abuse is unconscionable.

We believe that there is a heavy responsibility on Aboriginal leaders to recognize the significance of the problem within their own communities.

They must begin to recognize, as well, how much their silence and failure to act actually contribute to the problem. Aboriginal leaders must speak out against abuse within their communities to their own community members, and they must take steps within their own spheres of community influence to assist the true victims.

Women and children who report abuse should never feel they have to leave their communities in order to feel safe.

Aboriginal communities and their leaders must do what is possible to make the home communities of abused women and children havens from abuse.

The problem of abuse is dealt with presently by women either staying on the reserves and putting up with the abuse, or leaving their communities to live elsewhere, just to escape from it.

It is clear, however, that most would prefer to stay in their home communities if they could be protected.

Aboriginal women would like to see arbitration and community support systems in place in their communities.

This is another area in which the development of local resources is badly needed. Aboriginal leadership must ensure that it is sought and governments must ensure that it is provided.

There is no equal division of property upon marriage breakdown recognized under the Indian Act. This has to be rectified. While we recognize that amending the Indian Act is not a high priority for either the federal government or the Aboriginal leadership of Canada, we do believe that this matter warrants immediate attention.

At the provincial level, Aboriginal leaders must begin to support the types of programs which assist Aboriginal women and children to report abuse and to get help for its effects.

The silence and inactivity of Aboriginal leadership on this issue cannot continue. It amounts to a denial of responsibility.

Police forces must join forces with social workers in developing a comprehensive response to domestic violence. In urban communities, we recommend the establishment of abuse teams made up of one or two police officers and a social worker trained in the area of family violence.

When a complaint of a disturbance between partners is received, this team should be dispatched. It should be sufficiently expert to be able to assess the situation and to take the appropriate action.

A report of the team should be placed on computer. The report should explain the difficulty and should record any issues that should be considered or anticipated in any subsequent attendance.

Before going out on a complaint, the team should examine the record to see if the family has had previous problems. This information might play a part in the steps taken by a team on a second attendance.

We heard of reports of repeated assaults, some leading to death. It is our belief that preventive policing by an abuse team may be able to catch volatile situations and deal with them before the violence escalates.

If there are peacemakers or other support groups in a community, the abuse team might be able to obtain the agreement of the parties to go to them for help.

The abuse team should monitor the progress of the family. Such teams should make extensive use of electronic record-keeping and community resources.

There are now 10 shelters for abused women located in Manitoba, with the 11th due to open in Dauphin in the fall of There is also a provincial toll-free crisis line which provides immediate and culturally sensitive counselling and referral to women in abusive situations.

The provincial Family Disputes Services branch supports the crisis line and provides each of the shelters with core funding and a per-diem overnight rate per person.

Shelters are established to offer a secure environment where the abused are safe from the abuser. Trained counsellors are available to assist the women and children.

In some towns, local crisis committees operate safe homes where a woman and her children may stay until space in an approved shelter is available.

These homes may either be the homes of volunteers or a motel. The Income Security Program of the Department of Family Services pays a much lower per-diem rate per person than is allocated by the Family Disputes Services branch for shelters.

The branch does not support safe homes financially because it believes that it does not have a secure environment to keep the abuser from the abused, nor any trained counsellors.

We find such a policy to be working adversely against Aboriginal communities where the need for a separate shelter may not be sufficiently large to justify the establishment of one, but where having safe houses to provide occasional relief would create a needed community-based resource.

Second-stage housing offers self-contained accommodation for women and children for a period of one year.

During this time, women benefit from individual and group sessions to enhance self-esteem, to heal from abuse, to begin family counselling, to learn new parenting skills, and to undertake employment preparation training and assistance.

The contrast in services provided to Aboriginal women is shocking: there are no Aboriginal shelters, other than one in Winnipeg, no Aboriginal safe homes and no Aboriginal second-stage housing anywhere.

The only shelter established and directed by Aboriginal people is Ikwe Widdjiitiwin in Winnipeg. It is designed to deal exclusively with the unique cultural and social issues of Aboriginal women.

Ikwe Widdjiitiwin seeks to provide women with crisis support, supplemented with programs designed to empower Aboriginal women.

As we were told numerous times, women who wish to escape an abusive home must leave the reserve community and go to the town or city.

We consider this tragic and unacceptable. In situations where it is unsafe to leave the victim in the home, there should be shelters or safe houses in Aboriginal communities to which the victim can go.

These shelters should be controlled by Aboriginal women who can provide culturally appropriate services. Counselling and support for the victims of abuse are essential.

Of course, stopping the abuse is the best possible solution and may lead to a continuation of the family unit.

If it appears that abuse is likely to continue, the victim should be assisted to terminate the relationship.

This cannot be done without a great deal of local support. We believe that if communities make it known that physical or sexual abuse will not be tolerated and that offenders will be dealt with harshly, there will be a significant reduction in abuse.

Traditional Aboriginal means of punishment may be particularly helpful in these situations. Public ridicule and shunning, if applied with the support of the leadership in a community, may be as effective a deterrent as imprisonment.

The physical or sexual abuse of a family member, or of anyone else for that matter, must be treated as extremely serious.

The community must support that attitude. The support of chiefs and councillors is needed to provided the necessary feeling of security to women in Aboriginal communities.

The local police, whether they be band constables or members of an Aboriginal police force, members of the City police forces or the RCMP, should be encouraged to remove offenders at the first sign of abuse.

We were told by a number of Aboriginal women that when a woman who has been abused calls the police, the police usually come to the home to investigate.

If there are clear signs of abuse and the man is still in a foul humour, the man may be arrested and removed. Too often, however, the man is left in the home and the woman is encouraged to leave the home and seek refuge in a shelter, if there is one, or in the home of a friend or relative.

The emphasis in the past seems to have been to encourage an abused woman to go to a shelter. It is the abuser who should leave, if anyone has to.

There should be support groups in every community that will assist the abused woman to stay in the home and to have the abuser removed.

Child Abuse TOP. The most disturbing aspect of all this is child abuse. This abuse is both physical and sexual.

All cultural groups have prohibitions against incest and sexual interference with children, but adherence to those rules appears to have broken down both in the broader Canadian society and in Aboriginal society in Manitoba.

Sally Longstaffe, of the Child Advocacy Project with the Child Protection Centre, appeared before us and spoke of the problems society has had in coming to grips with sexual abuse.

The problem of child sexual assault is one that has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. Due to the rapid rise in reported instances of child sexual abuse, the demand for knowledge on the subject far exceeds supply.

The knowledge that currently exists is rapidly changing as it undergoes examination and refinement by various professionals in the human service field.

Longstaffe described the study that involved a detailed investigation into the cases of Manitoba children both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. Although there was medical evidence to support a belief that the children had been sexually abused, in 85 cases charges were never laid or were dismissed.

Longstaffe said that the situations facing Aboriginal children on reserves were particularly worrisome. The children often were the victims of multiple assaults from numerous, and often related, individuals, and often were threatened if they took their complaints to the authorities.

In reserve communities, the lack of communication between social agencies, and the lack of connection between the community and the justice system, led to a number of disturbing consequences.

The need for bold action is apparent. Children are suffering from trauma, physical injury, and psychological devastation that result from sexual abuse.

The injuries to self-esteem, trust, and emotional functioning last a lifetime. The incidence of sniffing, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, suicide, depression, and sexual acting out among Indian children suggest that the problem of child sexual abuse has reached epidemic proportions.

The statistics examined by the project show that the court system is not the answer in all situations. Two-thirds of the children it looked at who were removed from unsafe homes were returned eventually to those homes by the courts, or were placed in a setting where the offender had direct or indirect access to them.

The project suggests the use of elders in responding to Aboriginal child sexual abuse. It suggests there are several merits to this approach:.

Elders command the respect necessary to mobilize reserve communities to deal with the problem. As well, their position in the community is well-suited to both confronting the offender and consulting ongoing treatment strategies for the offender with collaboration information and support from other treatment resources.

Most importantly, elders are a source of expertise and credibility in performing the task of blending modern clinical expertise and theoretical knowledge with the traditional values of their people.

The causes of sexual assault are complex and difficult to ascertain. Feelings of anger and frustration, and the need for a feeling of power or dominance over another, may partly explain this activity.

Certainly, alcohol plays a major part, as many people do things under the influence of alcohol they would not normally do. Children are easy targets for angry parents, and often verbal and then physical abuse are directed towards them.

They are in a difficult position to resist physical attacks or sexual advances from a parent or an older relative. While some of the history we spoke of earlier may offer some explanations for such unacceptable conduct, and even if that conduct is part of the legacy of colonization, we wish to make it clear that we find none of the explanations an excuse for the manner in which Aboriginal women and children are treated.

The social cost of child sexual abuse is higher than we can imagine. These child victims continue to be victimized throughout their lives.

The burden of this victimization is preventing many Indian children from becoming the healthy, functioning adults they might otherwise be.

The failure of the social, medical, and legal systems to provide a safe environment for the normal development of these children perpetuates the existence of future generations of victims.

It is time to break the cycle of victimization. It is time to break the long standing pattern of non-action on reserve-based child sexual abuse.

Quite simply, it is time for a new justice for Indian children. All rural detachments of the RCMP should receive additional training in child sexual abuse and the investigation of such cases.

As well, RCMP training efforts in this area should be designed to include local tribal police for the dual purpose of maintaining a close relationship and providing these officers with proper information.

Training should include the role of the peace officer in a multidisciplinary team Such a program would address the issue of consistency, ie: having the same Crown attorney throughout the case , as well as developing a working relationship with local Justice Committees.

One possible option would be to hire legal assistants or paralegals to be based on the reserves for the purpose of facilitating a logical and orderly collaboration on each case.

The possibility of developing Tribal Courts should, in our view, be explored by examining the relative success of such in other jurisdictions That a program be initiated to promote the use of a multidisciplinary team approach on every reserve in Manitoba.

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