The total was higher than previous independent estimates, and led to renewed calls for a national inquiry to determine the root causes of the problem. Activists argue the disproportionate number represents a failure by police and government to come up with a solution. The media, as well, has been criticized for its role. A 2010 study found depictions of murdered aboriginal women were “more detached in tone” and less likely to appear on the front page than those of white women.
Beverly Jacobs, a lawyer, activist, and the former head of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, has been trying to raise awareness about the problem for years. “It’s a crisis and it always has been,” she said, blaming all levels of government, including indigenous leadership. “The numbers indicate how critical an issue it is. The fact that indigenous women are being attacked — that’s historical. This isn’t a new issue. It’s been happening since the beginning of colonization.”