National report includes missing and murdered Yukoners

It was seven years ago next week that Angel Carlick was last seen alive. The 19-year-old girl disappeared in May 2007, right before she was set to graduate high school.

It was seven years ago next week that Angel Carlick was last seen alive.

The 19-year-old girl disappeared in May 2007, right before she was set to graduate high school.

Her body was found months later in the Pilot Mountain subdivision. Police are still searching for someone or something that might be able to provide them with clues to what killed her.

The upcoming anniversary of Carlick’s tragic disappearance comes just after the RCMP have released a national report on missing and murdered aboriginal women across the country.

The number is staggering and has local advocates renewing their call for a national inquiry.

The report compiled data from 300 police forces across the country. It found 1,181 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canadian police databases. That’s a combination of 164 missing women dating back to 1952 and 1,017 murdered women between 1980 and 2012.

Aboriginal women make up 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women. This is three to four times higher than their representation in the overall Canadian population.

Only a handful of statistics in the report are broken down by jurisdiction.

Of the 18 women murdered in the Yukon between 1980 and 2012, 10 were aboriginal, or about 56 per cent.

That’s compared to 47 of 51 female murder victims in the Northwest Territories and all 20 of the female murder victims in Nunavut during the same period.

The number of unsolved murders in the Yukon involving an aboriginal woman: one.

The same data lists two unresolved missing aboriginal females in the Yukon.

The number of missing and murdered aboriginal women in the Yukon in this report is lower than numbers released by the local Sisters in Spirit campaign. But Marian Horne, president of the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, says she’s confident the RCMP’s number will go up as investigations continue.

“Absolutely, I know it will, because this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

The Yukon Sisters in Spirit campaign lists 38 missing or murdered women.

“What the public has to be aware of is that it’s not only an issue for First Nations, it’s also an issue for society in general,” Horne said.

Yukon RCMP Cpl. Calista MacLeod said there could be a number of reasons why the numbers are different. The national RCMP office that compiled the report is not providing more information beyond what is in the report.

Two of the women identified by Yukon Sisters in Spirit are Yukoners who went missing or were killed in other jurisdictions, MacLeod said.

In some cases the police only have a first name or a nickname. In one case, a missing woman has since been found.

A few are believed to have drowned and had their bodies swept away by some of the Yukon’s unforgiving waterways.

MacLeod said the goal of gathering the names was to honour the women’s stories.

She said the work by Sisters in Spirit has done a lot of good.

That includes helping the RCMP develop closer community relationships and debunk persistent myths, like the belief you need to wait 24 hours before reporting someone missing.

“If you’re worried then we have no rules, and never have, to wait,” she said.

Horne credits the Yukon RCMP with doing a good job of reaching out.

“(Chief Superintendent) Peter Clark has been a tremendous asset to us in Yukon, and (so has) all the RCMP,” she said. “We have teams that are apprising us regularly of the figures and asking as how we can correct the situation. But it’s a bigger issue than we can correct overnight.”

On a federal level, the numbers call for more action, she said.

“It is time for a national inquiry. We’ve been pushing for this for 10 years now. This is our 10th anniversary for Sisters in Spirit in October.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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