Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit

May 04, 2024

This topic which may negatively impact the reader due to its subject matter. If you are affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people and need immediate emotional assistance, call 1-844-413-6649. You can also access long-term health support services such as mental health counselling, community-based emotional support and cultural services and some travel costs to see Elders and traditional healers. Family members seeking information about their missing or murdered loved one can access Family Information Liaison Units.

MMIWG2S stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirt

What is Two-Spirit (2S)?

The term “Two-Spirit” (2S) is used by some Indigenous Peoples in North America to describe individuals who possess both masculine and feminine spirits within them. It is a cultural and spiritual identity that goes beyond Western concepts of gender and sexuality and predates colonialism by thousands of years. Two-spirited people often hold important ceremonial and societal roles within their communities, historically revered for their unique perspectives and contributions.

Nearly every Indigenous culture around the world holds an ancient equivalent term for two-spirit. Two-spirit is often used within Canadian Indigenous culture as an umbrella term for the colonial acronym LGBTQ+. Many Indigenous Peoples who would be broadly classified within this community choose to use the term two-spirited to identify their gender, cultural, or sexual identity, as their ancestors have for thousands of years. Two-spirit was a complex role and identity that modern-day two-spirited individuals can use to reclaim traditions related to gender identity, sexual preference, spiritual identity and traditional roles.1234 

Statistics on MMIWG2S:

The issue of MMIWG2S is a serious and ongoing crisis in Canada and the United States. Here are some statistics highlighting the gravity of this issue:

According to the final report of the National Inquiry, Indigenous women and girls represent 4% of the total female population in Canada, but they account for 16% of all female homicides in the country.

 The report also acknowledges that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other demographic group in Canada.

Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately impacted by violence. They experience higher rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, and homicide compared to non-Indigenous women in Canada.

 Two-Spirit individuals face unique challenges due to intersecting forms of discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and Indigenous identity.

What Can I Do?

Addressing the crisis of MMIWG2S requires collective effort and commitment. Here are several meaningful ways individuals can take action:

Taking Action for MMIWG2S

Addressing the crisis of MMIWG2S requires collective effort and commitment. Here are several meaningful ways individuals can take action:

  1. Empower Yourself with Facts & Stay Informed: Learn about the historical and ongoing issues impacting Indigenous communities, including the root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit individuals1. OCI offers online self-paced trainingand live virtual sessions to help you understand these issues in a factual, professional, and safe way. Visit the Government of Canada’s website on the topic, as well as the Canadian National Inquiry into MMIWG2S.
  2. Raise Awareness: Use your voice and platforms to raise awareness about MMIWG2S as you learn new facts. Share accurate information, statistics, and personal stories to help empower others with knowledge and elevate the visibility of this issue. Here are some advocacy resources from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).
  3. Support Indigenous-Led Initiatives: Directly support Indigenous organizations and initiatives working to address MMIWG2S. This includes donating funds, volunteering time, and amplifying their messages. OCI recommends starting with organizations such as NWAC, ONWA, and It Starts With Us.
  4. Advocate for Policy Change: Contact your local elected representative and ask what they’re doing to advocate for policies and legislation, as well as demand for thorough investigations into MMIWG2S.
  5. Challenge Stereotypes and Discrimination: Once you learn more on this topic, you’re able to help combat harmful stereotypes and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples. Foster inclusivity, respect, and understanding within your community and workplace and challenge biased narratives in media and public discourse.

By taking concrete actions and standing in solidarity with Indigenous communities, individuals can contribute to a collective movement towards justice, awareness, and empowerment for MMIWG2S. Every effort, no matter how small, can make a meaningful difference in addressing this urgent issue.

Organization Culture Initiatives

OCI offers a range of services to help individuals and organizations understand and navigate the complexities of North America’s Indigenous past, present, and future. Our services include online self-paced training suited for individuals and teams, live corporate training facilitated in a safe learning environment, and custom content creation for your organization. By participating in OCI’s trainings, you can gain empowerment through Indigenous cultural awareness and meet modern expectations of Indigenous awareness.

Information Sources:

  1. Two-spirit - Wikipedia
  2. Two-Spirit | The Canadian Encyclopedia
  3. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia
  4. Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women & Girls - Assembly of First Nations (afn.ca)
  5. MMIWG2S | CSVANW - Coalition to STOP Violence Against Women
  7. MMIWG2S+ | Moose Hide Campaign Education
  8. two-spirit Meaning | Gender & Sexuality | Dictionary.com
  9. Researching for LGBTQ Health


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