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Unearthing Justices: Mapping 500+ Indigenous Grassroots Initiatives for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit+ People

Vicki Chartrand

2022 Canda

In the face of ongoing colonial violence across the land now known as Canada, Indigenous families and communities of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit+ (MMIWG2S+) people continue to navigate a criminal justice system that has long ignored and neglected the murders and disappearances. This grassroots work has been important in raising awareness, mobilizing action, and generating resources and support across the land. The 500+ Unearthing Justices Resource Collection (UJRC) is a publicly available database of more than 500 documented Indigenous grassroots organizing and mobilizing for the MMIWG2S+ people. The magnitude of local activities documented in the 500+ UJRC highlight the vast resources, skills, and strengths that already exist within Indigenous communities, particularly in the absence and neglect of state and institutional justice. These powerful and transformative community care initiatives reveal the many facets of what justice is and needs, well beyond what a criminal justice system can provide. Using a justice mapping approach, this article traces the Indigenous-based initiatives of vigils & marches, search support, community patrols, and community accountability to show how they are not only central to addressing the murders and disappearances, but also for imagining other possibilities for justice.

justice mapping, Indigenous grassroots, missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit+ (MMIWG2S+) people