It's time for community to build our own structures independent of government and institutional funding. The purpose of this database is to our honour our women and provide family members with a way to document their loved ones passing while asserting community control of our own record-keeping.
The database will document Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and Trans people who have gone missing, or died as a result of violence. This could include murder, manslaughter, ‘accidental’ and suicide, as well as deaths which families and communities have deemed suspicious and are unsolved or for whom answers or justice have yet to be found.
Over the years there have been many people who have taken up this issue in many different ways - not just numbers. This includes advocacy from the grassroots and community level as well as provincial and federal government policy changes and legislation. There has been many recommendations, reports and research done on what prevents violence in Indigenous communities. However, a lot of this work did not centralize or sometimes even include those most affected by violence - families, communities, and individuals who had experienced violence and its consequences first hand.
As more media began to pay attention to the issues and the Memorial Marches spread to more cities and got larger - many people across the US and Canada started taking action and continue to do so.
As grassroots organizations in collaboration on this project we are connected to the many legacies behind this ongoing work - we hope the initiation of a community-led database will open up a space for local and regional advocates, activists and families a place to share information about deaths that have occurred but also honour the lives of those we’ve lost.
Violence No More Series
In the summer of 2011, No More Silence invited the Native Youth Sexual Network to participate in an event entitled “The Silence is Broken, but the Violence Continues: Now What?” to create community discussions about moving beyond awareness raising to actually strategizing about how to end violence.
Videos of the events and speakers can be found here:http://nomoresilence-nomoresilence.blogspot.ca/2011_08_01_archive.html
Fall of 2011 - community workshop and informal panel discussionhttp://nomoresilence-nomoresilence.blogspot.ca/2011_12_01_archive.html
Spring of 2013 - large public panel presentationhttp://nomoresilence-nomoresilence.blogspot.ca/2013_05_01_archive.html
Community members came together initially from Toronto, then with the support of funds from the Community Knowledge Alliance of the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto No More Silence was able to invite FSIS and other activists working with family members in Vancouver’s downtown eastside and other regions to join the discussion. The decision to create a community-led database was born at our April Violence No More Meeting in 2013. Subsequently No More Silence approached FSIS and together met with Indigenous researcher, Dr. Janet Smylie who had offered her assistance in developing the criteria. Together with community partner, NYSHN, the database was launched in the fall of 2013. In the summer of 2014 we were able to launch this website including our first tribute page in honour of Bella Laboucan-Mclean. So over the last 3-4 years people have been brought together in conversation, in the spirit of collaboration and understanding that no one can own this work.
We hope to be as transparent as possible - gathering information directly from family members who are open and consent to sharing, by searching and collaborating with existing regional lists created by community members who give consent to share their work, as well as digging through media reports and anecdotal evidence.