Expanding the Conversation – MMIMB: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men and Boys

This is an expanded and updated version of something published in 2015.

It was a originally a section of a larger feature article on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls that was mostly based on an interview and presentation with Pam Palmater, as well as on the Walking With Our Sisters exhibit, and – for a section on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Two-Spirit and Trans People – the work of It Starts With Us. That full piece can be found here and is part of a compilation of articles and multi-media on MMIWG from 2009-2015 that can be found here.

This expanded online article focused on MMIMB also has a 1-page PDF version for printing, reading, and distributing offline.


by Greg Macdougall – First section as published March 2015 in The Leveller newspaper

Although there is much popular and media attention given to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and justly so, the documented murder rate of Indigenous men in Canada is actually higher than that of Indigenous women.

Both the Toronto Star and APTN have had stories reporting on Statistics Canada’s figures of Indigenous murder victims between 1980-2012. StatsCan documented 745 Indigenous female homicide victims and 1,750 Indigenous male homicide victims. That’s 14 and 17 per cent of all female and male homicide victims, respectively, despite the fact that, as of 2011, only 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population self-identified as Indigenous.

The female figure of 745 Indigenous female homicide victims differs from the 2014 RCMP report of 1,017 murdered and 164 missing Indigenous women since 1980 (The RCMP has yet to provide such a figure for murdered and missing Indigenous men.) Regardless, these figures still show a disparity between Indigenous and settler Canadians’ experiences of violence.

Such violence scars communities all across Canada. Lydia Daniels, whose son Colten Pratt has been missing since November 2014, told APTN that “we also wanted to make a statement that we also have murdered and missing men in our communities.” Sandra Banman, whose son Carl was murdered in 2011, stated “In balance and unity with our people, we also need to think about our men. We don’t love our daughters more than we love our sons, so when our sons go missing or are murdered, it hurts the families just as much.”



In Fall 2015, annual homicide data was published by StatsCan that for the first time differentiated between Indigenous and non-Indigenous victims (see the table below, or view the data on the StatsCan website).

The data indicate Indigenous men are disproportionately murdered at a per-capita rate approximately six to seven times higher than non-Indigenous men and three times that of Indigenous women; Indigenous women are approximately six times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women. *StatsCan does not provide statistics specifically for Trans or Two-Spirit People.

*Updated 2020 data from Statistics Canada (Table 35-10-0156-01 Homicide victims, by gender and Indigenous identity)
Rate per 100,000 population is between 10.87-16.50 for Indigenous males, 1.65-2.25 for non-Indigenous males, 3.29-4.87 for Indigenous females, and 0.56-0.78 for non-Indigenous females, between 2014-2020.


In January 2016, Jennifer Mt. Pleasant published her Master’s research work at Wilfrid Laurier University on “Violence Against Indigenous Males in Canada with a Focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men.” She also built a database of victims, that had over 700 names at the time. A university profile quotes her as saying, “There is nothing really out there that advocates for Indigenous men. This leads people to believe that Indigenous men aren’t worthy of inquiry.” The profile describes how “her research has been met with mixed emotions from within the Indigenous community” and that she’s been denied funding opportunities.

University of Saskatchewan professor Robert Innes was quoted in the National Post in 2015 as saying, “It is a difficult issue to raise because you don’t want to say one is more important than the other and it can come across like that. When you raise it, you want to make it clear it’s an issue facing men and women.” In an Aboriginal Policy Studies journal article cited by the Post, he wrote regarding the fact that Indigenous men also commit and are charged with murder at disproportionate rates: “Placing the emphasis on the violence of which Indigenous men are capable while at the same time ignoring their victimization is caused by a specific kind of race and gender bias many white people have towards Indigenous men.” Video of his recent talk in Toronto “The Moose In The Room: Time To Talk About Indigenous Male Violence” is on Facebook.

Innes along with Kim Anderson – Mt. Pleasant’s academic supervisor – lead the Biidwewidam Indigenous Masculinities project.
(* It is no longer active, but the Biidwewidam website is archived at the Internet Archive / WayBack Machine.)

There was a push to include men and boys as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A coalition that formed to advocate for this, Expand the Inquiry, led by Musqueam chief Ernie Crey, received more grassroots push-back than support, largely due to the problematic involvement of non-Indigenous Men’s Rights Activists like CAFE (Canadian Association for Equality).


* To paraphrase some Indigenous researchers in a different field, it is helpful to consider all of the statistics listed here (above and below) as being more “informative” than “definitive”, in that they may not be fully inclusive or accurate.

There were at least two Fathers’ Day walks to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men and Boys – one in Winnipeg (2nd annual) and one in Rapid City, South Dakota.


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