Every 66 Hours. Dead or Disappeared. A Colonial Gendered Lens on Genocide: Case Study on Canada’s Genocide Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA People

Genocide is happening today, and it will be happening tomorrow. It is not yet time to tell volunteers to stop dredging the Red River for dead bodies of Indigenous women and girls nor time for red dresses to stop being hung on the Highway of Tears. There are dead bodies in the water. There are missing bodies who were taken along wooded highways. .  .

This article evaluates the current rates of violence against Indigenous women in Canada within (1) the greater context of an ongoing colonial genocide against Indigenous peoples and (2) with a narrow-gendered lens on women. First, I will provide background on the international legal definition of genocide, and the perceptions behind physical, biological, and cultural genocide. Next, I will compare how colonial genocide differs from the Holocaust protype of genocide. Then, I will outline how colonial genocide against Indigenous peoples in Canada has evolved over time by dividing the centuries-long genocide into three broad stages. The first stage of colonial genocide began during the onset of colonial invasion in North America and was the most lethal stage in terms of reducing total Indigenous population by massacres, disease, and war. The second stage of colonial genocide took place in the twentieth century and was characterized by a shift to government state policy which fueled the perpetration and continuance of genocide intended to destroy the social unit of Indigenous communities (namely the Indian Act, the Residential Schools system, and the Sixties Scoop). The third stage is the modern genocidal violence perpetrated against Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQQIA) people. Reimagining and reexamining genocide through a colonial and gendered lens reveals how genocide evolves over time and mutates in response to the resilience of the targeted group. Understanding how the current stage of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people manifested requires an examination of past evolving forms of genocide. Finally, I will return to the international legal definition of genocide and outline how throughout each stage of the three stages of colonial genocide, different genocidal acts align with the international legal definition of the crime of genocide.