Indigenous Femicide, Genocide, Sovereignty and Resistance 1b - Lethal Violence and Colonisation


Indigenous Femicide, Genocide, Sovereignty and Resistance

The silhouette of an Indigenous woman dancing while wearing traditional dress is in the foreground. Pictured on the screen behind her are three Indigenous women standing and looking at the viewer. They are all wearing red dresses.

[imagecaption] Screenshot from ‘Performance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’. In October 2016, Canada’s unions staged a unique and powerful performance with music by A Tribe Called Red, video, holograms and dance to honour Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women. [/imagecaption]


Indigenous women in Australia, Canada and the US have been targets of lethal violence since colonisation. Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls points out that:

Targeting  victims in a gender-oriented manner destroys the very foundations of the group as a social unit and leaves long-lasting scars within a group’s social fabric … Genocide is a root cause of the violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls, not only because of the genocidal acts that were and still are perpetrated against them, but also because of all the societal vulnerabilities it fosters, which leads to deaths and disappearances and which permeates all aspects of Canadian society today.

At the same time, Indigenous women have struggled on the frontlines of resistance movements for their sovereign rights to land, for their right to raise their children in culture on country, for an end to deaths in custody and for communities to live free from state-sanctioned violence.

‘Indigenous women warriors are the heart of the resistance in many ways but always within the context of their families, communities and Nations working alongside Indigenous men, elders, traditional and political leaders and our ancestors who walk beside us…The fact that we have survived Canada’s lethal policies which targeted our grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters and children is a symbol of our strength, resilience and refusal to give up our lands, cultures or identities.’ 

Pam Palmater, Mi’kmaw activist and lawyer


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.