Healing Through Justice: The Application of Holistic Healing to Racialized and Sexualized Violence against Aboriginal Women of Saskatchewan
Karpa, Kimberly Dawn
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Over the last three decades, feminist research has brought violence against women to the attention of policy makers and the general public. In more recent years, researchers have begun to explore the intersection of race, colonialism and gender when examining the issues of violence against Aboriginal women and women of colour (Brownridge 2009, 164-200; Dylan, Regehr, Alaggia 2008, 678-696; Razack 2002, 123-156; 1998, 56-87; Smith 2005, 7-33; Stevenson 1999, 49-80). Aboriginal women in Canada experience exponentially higher rates of violence than non-Aboriginal Canadians do (Amnesty International 2004, 23; Johnson 2006, 14; Sinha 2013, 19). Further, Aboriginal women’s mortality rates as a result of violence are three times higher than for non-Aboriginal women (Amnesty International 2004, 25). In 2004, Amnesty International released a report, “Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada,” that brought attention to the hundreds of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. In 2005, The Native Women’s Association (NWAC) Sisters in Spirit (SIS) Initiative began conducting a five-year study that found 582, and still counting, cases (2010, i). An observation in this report is that many of the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls have encountered barriers when working with the police and the other components of the criminal justice system. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the barriers that families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan experience when working with the Canadian justice system, particularly the police; seeking out the changes that need to be made in order to overcome these barriers; and exploring alternative forms of justice that may be more suitable for such cases. More specifically, this research project seeks to explore the viability of restorative justice processes for families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls; what kinds of restorative justice processes might be most beneficial; and finally how the restorative justice processes could work to the benefit of the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.