Over 500 Aboriginal Women Have Been Murdered Or Gone Missing In Canada: A Poem To Mayor David Miller

In the summer of 2008 Carolyn Connolly and Katelynn Sampson (pictured left), two Aboriginal women, were murdered days apart in two different neighbourhoods in Toronto.  Local newspapers reported the murders, but no real action from police and government was seen, and still hasn’t been seen.

As I read the news of the two murders in the same issue of the Toronto Star I remembered seeing David Miller on the news after Jane Creba was killed on Yonge St. in December  2005.  Miller walked up and down Yonge St. in front television cameras claiming to march against violence; really, he was there for votes, white votes.

The Jane Creba tragedy is not the only tragedy that has happened in Toronto.  Many women of colour go missing and are murdered without any media attention or care from society.  Over 500 Aboriginal women have been murdered and have gone missing in Canada in the last twenty years and most Canadians don’t know or care about this.   When a white woman is killed it’s a tragedy and the whole country mourns.

As a writer, my words are my activism.  I wrote a poem to Mayor David Miller and submitted it to the Toronto Star.  Two days later it was published in the Letter to the Editor section of the Toronto Star (August 13, 2008).

After the poem was published I was invited by local activist groups to read the poem outside of the coroner’s office in Toronto.  I was also invited to read at the first vigil for Carolyn Connolly at the site of her murder.  Since then I have read A Poem To Mayor David Miller at various activist events.  The video below is part of my YOUTUBE channel: Black Coffee Poet.  (The Friday portion of the Black Coffee Poet magazine is always a video of a poet reading their work.)  The video is of Black Coffee Poet reading at the rally to STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST ABORIGINAL WOMEN (2009) that happens every February 14th.  

The video is from 2009 and was shot and edited by Zoi de la Peña.

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About Black Coffee Poet

Black Coffee Poet is a mixed race poet, essayist, and journalist who focuses on Social Justice, Indigenous Rights, STOPPING Violence Against Women, Film, and Literature.
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9 Responses to Over 500 Aboriginal Women Have Been Murdered Or Gone Missing In Canada: A Poem To Mayor David Miller

  1. Aman Sium says:

    Excellent poem!!! I remember reading it but I never heard it performed.
    As for Miller, when he’s not pandering for white votes he’s in giddy support of the Toronto police and the racialzed violence (i.e. G20 protests) they unleash against Indigenous, black and other people of colour. It always cracks me up when white liberals put on some orange and think that – by default – they’re down with our struggle.
    Keep writing brother.

  2. Scott Temple says:

    Touching poem, it really is a tragedy when anyone, male, female, white or not are murdered. Especially when it’s someone as young as Katelynn Sampson. But I just want to raise an issue here. Yes, while it’s horrible that neither the Mayor nor the police took much action when these two were murdered, anyone must realize that you can’t judge all of us because of other individuals. I’m white, yes, but am I o.k. with an aboriginal person being murdered, no. An issue I’ve been having while conducting some research for an argument is that every comment made by random people (those not coming from an academic standpoint) is that everyone who is from an ethnic background attack us simply for us being white, meaning, if I’m white, I’m racist, and I only care about whites….but the truth is, I care about everyone equally, white or black, Asian or Latino, which brings me to the comment above. “when he’s not pandering for white votes”. One must step back for a second when attempting to make a comment like this. Who is Miller as a person, what is he o.k. with, what isn’t he o.k. with. What do his advisors tell him to do and what not to do. When Mr. Sium says that Mr. Miller was “pandering for white votes”, he assumes that Mr. Miller is just another soulless political figure out to get more power. But in reality, they deal with numbers. They look at what ethnic group has a majority in a particular area and for the most part tweak their campaigns to that group. Yes, this is insensitive, but it gets the votes to win a campaign. So I’m sure he is advised to do this (that’s what he pays them for…to advise him how to win). Outside of this numbers based lifestyle, he is another person, with the same emotions and compassion as you and me. I’m sure if he were to be fully informed of Katelynn Sampson, he’s feel the same was as he did when Jane Creba was killed. I just don’t like it when people jump to the conclusion that we as white’s are all just racist bastards out to hurt both physically and emotionally every other race. I would never be o.k. with any form of racism in my household, and when I have children, I WILL NOT tolerate any form of it.

    As for the comment Mr. Sium made, “It always cracks me up when white liberals put on some orange and think that – by default – they’re down with our struggle.”…. now, I don’t know if I can consider myself a liberal, I’m not a very political person, but as for white…I am that. But to respond, don’t you dare assume you can tell me that I don’t care. I have friends who have been victims of racism, both from whites AND other ethnic groups (Asians, Indians, Blacks, Mexicans, you name it…), and no matter who it’s from, it’s never o.k. I’m discriminated against every time I’m in a group of people where the majority isn’t white, and it sucks. I’m just that “white guy” who’s lived the privileged life and had everything given to me. And you know what, I have lived a pretty privileged life, that is true, but a lot of people who I know through school don’t live that life. They’re white, and their parents have trouble making rent. They’re white, and they don’t have money for new clothes. They’re white and they’re going to be stuck at the same dead end job for the rest of their lives because they couldn’t make it through school… white people can be poor too. But even when they’re with me and hanging around those groups that are majority other ethnicities, they’re tossed in the same pot as me, that “richy rich white kid who’s never had it hard” And hell, I wasn’t rich, I grew up middle class like the majority of the Canadian population, right smack dab in the middle, so I definitely wasn’t the “richy rich” kid they though I was.

    So yea, this is more or less my rant on racism against aboriginal people… except it’s more to the short sightedness of the comment made above. I want to make it clear that in no way do I want to take away from the original article itself, because it does sadly have a ring of truth to it. While I might be arguing for people to lay off on the generalization of whites being pricks, I also don’t want people to forget that in a lot of cases….we are…. I just hope that with the new generations, understanding and acceptance of equality will be obtained. I have a feeling it will due to the stance myself and friends share on this particular issue, but for the time being, we live in an age ruled by those from an earlier time, where racism was common place in almost every setting, so we’ll have to deal with it for a while longer, but hopefully not for too long.

  3. kellypflugback says:

    @ Scott: Yeah, it’s a tragedy when anyone gets killed…but when specific groups of people are getting killed and attacked disproportionately because of their gender, class and ethnicity, you’ve gotta see that its part of a bigger pattern. When a white woman gets killed by a non-white man, it’s a portrayed as a brutal tragedy, and her death is used to reinforce racism and the criminalization of men of colour. Now, how many poor and homeless women, how many sex trade workers, how many Native women get murdered and assaulted every day? Countless, and more often than not their deaths get very little press and their killers (if they’re even found) get minimal punishment considering their crime. I agree with Aman, just how racist Toronto’s law enforcement is really showed during the G20, and now everybody’s scrambling for excuses and trying to cover it up.

    Bottom line, this is an awesome poem.

  4. Pingback: FEBRUARY 2012: THOUGHTS ON BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND THE FEBRUARY 14TH RALLY FOR THE 800+ MISSING AND MURDERED ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA | Black Coffee Poet

  5. Doreen Roy says:

    It is a double tragedy for families when mothers go missing or are found murdered. First not knowing what has happened to them and then a tragedy for the family, and especially the children. I would like to know what has happened to the children of these women. Are they taken in by family members, or by Child Welfare. How are they affected by losing their moms, especially when the father was abusive or murdered their mother. They lose both parents, but then what happens. None of this is good. It is all so sad.

  6. Pingback: HOWLING IN YEAR 3 WITH NIK BEAT AND ROBERT PRIEST | Black Coffee Poet

  7. Kumar Gautam says:

    although i am not aware of issue, but could collect the story through poem…beautiful

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