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The removal of over 150,000 aboriginal children from their families to residential schools, places that became notorious for abuse.On a drive through the Fort William First Nation Reserve outside the Ontario city of Thunder Bay, former Chief Georjann Morriseau described how this policy has impacted on generations, up until the present time.
When your children get taken away you kind of lose your sense of purpose," she says.Canada's aboriginal women make up a small fraction of its population, yet for decades they have suffered disproportionally from abuse, exploitation and murder.Since the 1980s, over 1,000 indigenous women have been murdered in this developed North American nation, yet, according to campaigners and human rights groups, too few of these cases have resulted in arrests or prosecution.Amid mounting claims of official indifference to the problem that some say has its roots in racism and the country's colonial past, FILMMAKER'S VIEW By Sarah Spiller Sharon Johnson has made the same walk for the past seven years.On Valentine's Day, in the teeth of an Ontario winter, she marches to commemorate her sister Sandra, murdered in 1992.Leaving indigenous reserves, more problems could lie ahead in Canada's cities, she said. If you take somewhere like Toronto and Vancouver, you're lost." In their home outside Toronto, John Fox shared pictures of his daughter Cheyenne.
A teenager giggling as the family cleared snow away; a young mother cradling a newborn baby son.
John said Cheyenne had lots of friends at school in Thunder Bay, was bubbly and sociable.
Woven into this and so very many stories of loss is the question, why have so many of Canada's aboriginal women gone missing or been murdered?
Aboriginal women make up little over four percent of the country's female population, yet account for around 16 percent of female homicides.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal women have disappeared or met violent deaths in the country over the past three decades.
Travelling across three provinces, Ontario This month Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported on one of the darkest chapters in the country's history.