Murdered Indigenous Women: Vancouver Police Called To Do More

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Murdered Indigenous Women: Vancouver Police Called To Do More

Despite multiple reports, Indigenous organizations are seeing an increase in violence against women in Vancouver.

Several Indigenous organizations are calling on Vancouver police to act faster to address violence against Indigenous women and girls after a spate of deaths in recent months.

The Assembly of First Nations, the Union of British Columbia Native Chiefs (UBCIC) and the former chair of a provincial commission of inquiry into the disappearance of Native women, Wally Oppal, urge the police to show more accountability.

Conditions in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are perfect for a new Pickton to get to work, Oppal said in an interview Friday on CBC's All Points West.

In 2012, the commission of inquiry that this former attorney general chaired made 63 recommendations to avoid mistakes made in the case of serial killer Robert Pickton.

According to Wally Oppal, the police have greatly improved their investigations into missing persons cases and their communication with other police forces. All three levels of government must be involved to ensure that the police are accountable and present in our communities, he added, however.

Indigenous leaders have demanded answers after the body of 14-year-old Noelle Eli O'Soup was found in an apartment in May, a year after she disappeared. A police officer is being investigated after searching the apartment but not finding the body of the child.

A memorial for Chelsea Poorman outside a home in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, May 10 2022.

Questions have also been raised about the work of the Police Department following the discovery of the body of 24-year-old Chelsea Poorman. Her father alleges police were negligent during the investigation into the disappearance of the young woman from Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Another 24-year-old Indigenous woman, Kwemcxenalqs Manuel-Gottfriedson, was found dead last week in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Tatyanna Harrison, 20, remains missing after she was last seen in this neighborhood in April.

Violence against Indigenous women, who are the heart of the Downtown Eastside community, is escalating like we've never seen, UBCIC Kukpi7 Secretary-Treasurer Judy Wilson said in a statement last week.

In an interview, she added that her own cousin was on the long list of missing women.

We all make these reports, we produce all these recommendations, but they are not applied, she lamented. We need action. Otherwise, we're going to have more cases like Chelsea Poorman, Noelle O'Soup and my cousin.

She also called on the City of Vancouver to do more to provide affordable housing.

Women's Council Representative to the Assembly of First Nations, Louisa Housty-Jones, has also called for Vancouver police to be held accountable for their work.

Nothing happens. There doesn't seem to be any political will, she said.

The police department declined interview requests. In a statement, he said he meets regularly with the families of the victims.

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