Man camps are temporary; trauma from violence lasts generations
RAVEN has written about the dangers of man camps before, but with the 31st Annual February 14 Women’s Memorial March honouring MMIWGT2S approaching, and little change seen, it is time to bring this issue back to the forefront of our dialogues. Because it’s time Canada and industrial development companies take the recommendations in the final MMIWG report seriously and address the issue of violence against Indigenous women, two-spirited and girls.
At this point, it is well known that man camps that provide housing for primarily male workers on resource projects are linked to violence against Indigenous women, two-spirit folks and girls, specifically trans women. The proximity to Indigenous communities and rampant racism that is bred in man camps, has been linked to higher rates of sexual abuse, harrassment, STIs, and women entering the sex trade. The Final Report of the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls found that this gendered violence “amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, which especially targets women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.” This act of genocide persists, even as we approach the third anniversary of the Report this summer.
There are 231 calls to justice that were created based on the findings of the Inquiry. You can read the report and the calls to justice here.
Construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline has sparked an ongoing struggle in Wet’suwet’en territory between land defenders and TransCanada’s man camps, often exacerbated by the RCMP presence. Violence towards Indigenous land and peoples is not a novel tactic, but the addition of man camps near First Nations communities adds a new layer of fear for the women, two-spirited, and girls who live there.
When racism and violence towards Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people is structurally embedded in how entire industries operate, we are seeing colonialism in action. Far from being a sin of the past, it is part of how resource extraction in Canada works. Broken Indigenous lives and despoiled land are the inevitable corollary. .
While the federal government released a National Action Plan last year, our social media feeds continue to fill up with posters for missing loved ones. Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit relatives have a right to safety, and Industry needs to take responsibility for and take action against the violence perpetuated in their man camps.
While the 31st annual march is happening in Vancouver, there are other ways and locations to participate. Find out how to get involved here.The National Inquiry has a support line for anyone who may need it:
Support Line 1-844-413-6649
An independent, national, toll-free support call line is available for anyone who requires assistance. This line is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.