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Social Science Violence In Society

Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters

edited by Kim Anderson, Maria Campbell & Christi Belcourt

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2018
Violence in Society, Women's Studies, Indigenous Studies
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    Jun 2018
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    May 2018
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In Keetsahnak / Our Murdered and Missing Indigenous Sisters, the tension between personal, political, and public action is brought home starkly as the contributors look at the roots of violence and how it diminishes life for all. Together, they create a model for anti-violence work from an Indigenous perspective. They acknowledge the destruction wrought by colonial violence, and also look at controversial topics such as lateral violence, challenges in working with “tradition,” and problematic notions involved in “helping.” Through stories of resilience, resistance, and activism, the editors give voice to powerful personal testimony and allow for the creation of knowledge.

It’s in all of our best interests to take on gender violence as a core resurgence project, a core decolonization project, a core of Indigenous nation building, and as the backbone of any Indigenous mobilization. —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Contributors: Kim Anderson, Stella August, Tracy Bear, Christi Belcourt, Robyn Bourgeois, Rita Bouvier, Maria Campbell, Maya Ode’amik Chacaby, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Susan Gingell, Michelle Good, Laura Harjo, Sarah Hunt, Robert Alexander Innes, Beverly Jacobs, Tanya Kappo, Tara Kappo, Lyla Kinoshameg, Helen Knott, Sandra Lamouche, Jo-Anne Lawless, Debra Leo, Kelsey T. Leonard, Ann-Marie Livingston, Brenda Macdougall, Sylvia Maracle, Jenell Navarro, Darlene R. Okemaysim-Sicotte, Pahan Pte San Win, Ramona Reece, Kimberly Robertson, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Beatrice Starr, Madeleine Kétéskwew Dion Stout, Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy, Alex Wilson

About the authors

Kim Anderson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has published over thirty book chapters and journal articles and is also the principal investigator for two SSHRC research projects: Bidwewidam Indigenous Masculinities (2011-2014) and Indigenous Knowledge Translation in Urban Aboriginal Settings (2014-2017). Anderson is a long-standing advocate for Indigenous women and families and is regularly involved in community-based research and teaching in this area.

Kim Anderson's profile page

Maria Campbell is a Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher, community organizer, activist, and elder. Halfbreed is regarded as a foundational work of Indigenous literature in Canada. She has authored several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. She has also worked with Indigenous youth in community theatre and advocated for the hiring and recognition of Indigenous people in the arts. She has mentored many Indigenous artists during her career, established shelters for Indigenous women and children, and run a writers’ camp at the national historical site at Batoche, where every summer she produces commemorative events on the anniversary of the battle of the 1885 North-West Resistance. Maria Campbell is an officer of the Order of Canada and holds five honorary doctorates.

Maria Campbell's profile page

Christi Belcourt is a Michif (Métis) visual artist with a deep respect for Mother Earth, the traditions and the knowledge of her people. In addition to her paintings she is also known as a community based artist, environmentalist and advocate for the lands, waters and Indigenous peoples. She is currently a lead organizer for the Onaman Collective which focuses on resurgence of language and land based practices. She is also the lead coordinator for Walking With Our Sisters, a community-driven project that honours murdered or missing Indigenous women. Her work Giniigaaniimenaaning (Looking Ahead) commemorates residential school survivors, their families and communities to mark the Prime Minister's historic Apology in 2008 and is installed at Centre Block on Parliament Hill commissioned by the Government of Canada. She was named the Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council in 2015. In 2016 she won a Governor General's Innovation Award and was named the winner of the 2016 Premier's Awards in the Arts. Author of Medicines To Help Us (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007) and Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010). Christi's work is found within the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection, Parliament Hill, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People's Hall.

Christi Belcourt's profile page


  • Short-listed, Scholarly and Academic Book Award | Alberta Book Publishing Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta

Editorial Reviews

"Contributors to the anthology include family members of MMIWG2S, survivors of violence, activists, artists, counsellors, lawyers, and academics who provide insights from unique vantage points. Their incisive analyses offer us compelling testimonies, models of accountability and care, and proposals for action. Rooted in deeply personal stories, these pieces remind us that antiviolence organizing and theory must emerge out of everyday lived experiences.... Keetsahnak is imbued with an urgent call to rethink, complicate, and deepen our understandings of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people." Caroline Fidan Tyler Doenmez, Native and Indigenous Studies, Spring 2021

“Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters will be welcomed by members of Indigenous communities, scholars and students, and all those who are open to the overarching story of resiliency and resistance being shared.” Robina Thomas, University of Victoria

"Indigenous women, these keepers, continue to go missing and be murdered in staggering numbers in Canada. This new collection of essays, most of which were written by Indigenous women scholars and activists, was edited by Campbell, Kim Anderson, and Christie Belcourt. The essays look at the violence against, the challenges facing, and the action taken by their sisters in this country." Laura Kupcis, Prairie Books Now, June 2018

"Many chapters in Keetsahnak will appeal to academic and non-academic thinkers and teachers alike - allowing readers to think holistically about community remembrance, mourning, celebration and healing." Tracey Lindberg, Alberta Views, July 2019

"The stories in this book are presented with power, truth, humility, and beauty. They reveal complexities of women's lives that cannot be adequately reflected in statistics on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women." Hilary N. Weaver, The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 2018

"Keetsahnak will be a staple resource in future research on violence against Indigenous women and girls....future historians and critics studying Indigenous resistance, both at the barricades and through artistic production, will want this book on their shelves." Margery Fee, Canadian Literature, 2019

"If one wishes to examine this international issue of concern on a personal level, wherein the subject is deeply internalized by many Indigenous women and then shared thoughtfully with the reader, this is a good book with which to do so." Wendelin Hume, Great Plains Quarterly, February 2021

"The essays in Keetsahnak outline historical, legal, cultural, philosophical, and psychological perspectives on the topic of missing and murdered women in Canada. Their power is in detailing the affective consequences of living in pain, grief, rage; simultaneously they offer strategic examples of resilience, legal challenges, and paradigm shifts. There is an immediate and personal tone to each essay that provides a transparency to the process and a depth to the volume, reminding us that we have all been affected by the horrors of this reality. This is a serious and important read… [A]n excellent resource for university students taking courses in the fields of sociology, Indigenous Studies, Women Studies, or Social Work.” Michelle LaFlamme, The Pacific Rim Review of Books, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Winter/Spring 2020)

"Keetsahnak defies categorisation. The book is fundamentally a collective project that seeks to understand and raise awareness of the issue of MMIWG2S, examining the roots of the violence and registering the resilience of Indigenous peoples. Through chapters that are at once political and personal, intimate and analytical, the volume brings together over 35 contributors to honour Indigenous lives. Yet, the volume emphasises the need for action as well as remembrance... [The] lessons borne out of Keetsahnak’s wide-ranging dialogue are invaluable for Indigenous and allied scholars, policy makers, and activists working to bring an end to this crisis." Rebecca Macklin, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Autumn 2021

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