Understanding the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Context

…when the justice system can be fallible where Aboriginal people are concerned, it is fallible. It fails at virtually every point in the process.

– Justice Murray Sinclair

Colonialism, as I have been forced to discover, is like a cancer. But instead of the cells in your body betraying itself, the thoughts in your mind work against you and eat you up from the inside out.

Jana-Rae Yerxa
The Unravelling of a Colonized Mind

Supporting improved access to justice for Aboriginal women dealing with violence requires working with an awareness of the history and context of Indigenous peoples in Canada. While the Building Service Capacity workshops did not provide cultural competency training, the design of each workshop either included setting the learning in the context of local Indigenous communities or, where the majority of participants were Aboriginal, wove the context through the workshop materials.

Training sessions were tailored to each community and included local presenters setting the Aboriginal context. This section, Understanding the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Context strives to provide overview information on the historical, social and legal context of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women in Canada today through materials distributed in the workshops.

These sections are not a substitute for cultural competency training, which is recommended for all non-Aboriginal service providers. They provide accessible readings that outline Canada’s colonial history and structure, how it underlies the social relations in which violence against First Nation, Métis and Inuit women occurs and sets up barriers to their access to justice.

Placing Violence Against First Nation, Métis and Inuit Women in Historical Context

In 2009, 44% of all girls in youth custody in Canada were Aboriginal. 2/3 of Aboriginal women in prison are single mothers heading families.

Gender Matters: Building Strength through Reconciliation

Canada’s colonial history – and the context for violence against Aboriginal women – is revealed through our legal history, our social relations and the attitudes that historically been taught in our education system.

Barriers to Access to Justice

Racism and colonialism – including the use of police and the legal system to remove children from families into the child welfare system and residential schools – have created unique barriers to justice for Aboriginal women in Canada.