According to Annita Luchessi, executive director for the Sovereign Body Institute, Native American women are murdered at a rate of 10 times the national average in the United States.
There are currently 5,712 cases of murdered and missing Native American women according to the national crime information centre.
Luchessi was in Vancouver recently and shared her own personal story.
“I was sold into trafficking by my abuser and my first experience with that was I was home alone and a man came to the house with a chainsaw and said he had bought me and that if I didn’t go with him he was gonna cut me into pieces,” she said.
“I don’t think you can imagine what that scenario fee ls like or looks like but when I say I was almost one of the women murdered.”
Her organization are now tracking the statistics of the similarities between the U.S. and Canada.
The University of British Columbia just held an event at the First Nations House of Learning.
Margaret Moss is the executive director and is originally from North Dakota.
She says it was important to host this event.
“Here there was the national inquiry as put out by the government here national versus in the U.S. there is no response yet its state by state,” she said.
She says there was just legislation presented to Congress but it didn’t go anywhere. So the USA is far behind Canada in addressing the situation.
Family members, scholars and activists gathered at the symposium to hear experts like Luchessi who joined them by skype from her office in the U.S.
Luchessi also said that historically since the early 1900s – she estimates there are about 20,000 cases of Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or are missing. Including residential schools in Canada and Boarding schools in the U.S.
Margaret Moss said that by bringing everyone together she’s hoping that women from both sides of the border can unite and take a stand.
“This is a phenomenally difficult epidemic is what we are actually calling it coming from a nursing perspective and public health this an absolute epidemic that needs to stop,” said Moss.