Mapping the Missing and Murdered
In an attempt to both raise awareness and possibly assist with the investigation of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in this country, I have drawn on the power of Google Maps. It is simply scandalous that, as of July 2009, the past three decades have seen over 520 indigenous women disappear or die violently in Canada, according to the Native Women’s Association of Canada and Amnesty International.
And according to NWAC research, the situation has only gotten worse: out of these 520+ cases, over half (55%) of the murders, and nearly half (43%) of the disappearances, have taken place since 2000 alone.
[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=114268243314306882906.000481f95251a50081d3f&ll=59.800634,-97.910156&spn=31.626964,83.496094&z=3 width=475 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
(To use the map, simply click on each icon and a woman’s story will appear. Effort has been made where possible to locate the icon exactly where women were last seen/found. To see the full map, visit its original home on Google Maps.)
Constructing this map is a gruesome exercise, but I hope it proves useful somehow: perhaps seeing where these women disappeared, died or were discovered, underlying patterns may emerge. Images can sometimes convey what mere text cannot, and if this moves even one more person to action, it will have served its purpose.
Given the research and editing required to prepare each entry, I have only managed to include 13 women so far, or, one woman for each province or territory — conveying the truly national scope of this sickening crisis. More names will gradually be added over time, and as this map eventually numbers over 500 women, Canada will literally be covered in the shameful records of their deaths.
UPDATE 1: As of Mar. 31, 2010, 25 names have been posted to this map, or (at the time) roughly one-twentieth of the total. According to Google Maps, it has been viewed 1,325 times.
UPDATE 2: As of May 5, 2010, 50 names have been posted, or what is now almost 9% of the total. The Google Map has been viewed 2,871 times.