Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Women

i am reposting this horrific news, without commentary except to say that obviously i do not share the authors’ insistence on nonviolence, but equally obviously that is not the most important thing here in this post. Sexual violence, from India to Turtle Island, has always been used by the powerful to terrorize subject peoples, just as it has been tolerated and encouraged amongst oppressed peoples as a safety valve for male distress and (more importantly) as a direct attack on women, who have regularly formed the backbone of resistance movements here as elsewhere.

The following press release details the a sexual assault on a woman from the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation in “canada”. This takes place not only in the context of the current upsurge known as “Idle No More”, but also in the context of the ongoing and longstanding attacks (sexual and otherwise) on Indigenous women across canada:

December 30, 2012 (Thunder Bay) The family of a woman who was brutally attacked on Thursday evening has come forward to issue a warning to people of First Nations descent living in the Thunder Bay region.

On Thursday evening Angela Smith (not her real name to protect her identity) was walking to a store in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Two Caucasian men pulled their car up along side her as she walked on the sidewalk and began issuing racial slurs while throwing items at her from the car.  When she continued to walk, the car stopped and the passenger of the vehicle got out of the car and grabbed the woman by her hair and forced her into the back of the car where she was held her down in the back seat by one of them and driven out of the city.

They drove her to a surrounding wooded area where they brutally sexually assaulted, strangled and beat her.  During the attack they told her it wasn’t the first time they had committed this type of crime and added, “it wouldn’t be the last.”  They also told her “You Indians deserve to lose your treaty rights.”  Making a reference to the current peaceful protests being undertaken by First Nations in Thunder Bay and throughout the country under the banner of Idle No More.

Left for dead in the wooded area, Angela managed to walk for four to five hours back to her home, where police were called.  She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and the crime is currently under investigation.

Speaking from her home in Thunder Bay on Friday, Angela said, “The only thought that came to my mind were my children.  I thought I would never see them again.”

She said she also wanted to get the information out to community members in Thunder Bay,  “It’s a cruel world out there and right now with the First Nations trying to fight this Bill (Bill C-45) everyone should be looking over their shoulder constantly because there are a lot of racists out there and to be careful.”

Her mother added, “We felt it was important for us to get the word out because we are very concerned about the safety of our women in the community.  And as well we want to tell people that even though this happened to my daughter, we are not the violent ones.  We want to tell people not to get angry or to be violent.  Its very important that the Idle No More movement to remain peaceful.”

Angela is a member of a community of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation in Northwestern Ontario.


Christi Belcourt                                                                       Tanya KappoEmail:                                        


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