With racial awareness sweeping the globe in light of recent events, Canadians have had to take a hard look at their history over the past several centuries. Though Canadians do an excellent job at dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, the population has its own skeletons in the closet when it comes to overwhelming and horrific racial inequalities.

Much like other countries around the world, Canada is at a crossroads where igniting change is the only way forward. That change begins with the Indigenous communities and the injustices they’ve faced.

In what has been referred to as a national genocide, Canada has seen numbers and death tolls rising over the past several years. For families in Indigenous communities, knowing or grieving a missing or murdered indigenous woman has become almost as frequent as the common cold. In 2016 alone, 5,712 Native women were either killed or went missing. The number, though horrifying, requires visibility and accountability for change to occur – both things that other communities, especially the Caucasian community, has turned a blind eye to despite the pleas for help from grieving families.

To create awareness and bring closure to families, Somebody’s Daughter is a haunting documentary directed by Rain. The film sheds light on some of the more high-profile cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and it touches on the legal jurisdictional concerns and social injustices that arise alongside the matter. The documentary also briefly touches on the indigenous drug cartels and gangs that may play a role in the death and disappearance of indigenous women.

Many people who have seen the film have been highly supportive of Rain and his take of MMIW. Mark Charles, an independent candidate running for the 2020 United States Presidential election, says “I deeply appreciated watching the film. It is very powerful and helps people understand at a very systemic level that these tragedies are not being investigated. When your Declaration of Independence calls Natives ‘savages’ and your constitution never mentions women, don’t act surprised when your indigenous women go missing and no-one cares,” says Charles. “The stories that are told in this movie are powerful, without being hopeless. This is a foundational level issue, and I’m so glad that the movie is bringing attention and helping people understand how deeply systemic the problem is, and it’s bringing these very real stories out, so the public can hear them, and can engage with them.”

The unfortunate phenomenon of missing and murdered indigenous women spans both Canada and the United States; however, it’s a huge roadblock for Canadians in particular. For indigenous families, it’s a vast injustice that the judicial system hasn’t adequately addressed. Instead of taking time to raise awareness, send media coverage, and grieve with these families, Canada has left many families without answers or support.

The first step towards change is awareness. It’s important to become educated on the issues, learn the names of the women who are missing and murdered, and be the change that is long overdue in Canada.

For more information on Somebody’s Daughter and to watch the trailer, visit: https://www.somebodysdaughter-mmiw.com

By Celina Dawdy