Published March 9, 2018
NEW YORK – During the United Nations’ 62 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in New York, there will be a special, international film screening of a documentary about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Canada. The film entitled, ‘1200+’, focuses on a region in Canada where the Indigenous community has been tragically impacted by Indigenous women and girls being victims of violence and murder. The documentary was created and produced by journalist Sheila North, who is now the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, and filmmaker Leonard Yakir.
The RCMP claim there are over 1,200 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. Family and friends claim up to 3,000. The film ‘1200+’ is seen through the eyes of journalist Sheila North, who has made it her passion to get to the bottom of MMIWG. Sheila examines how and why these women and girls go missing and draws on the similarities of their circumstances.
“This screening is important for us and our Indigenous communities as we need to raise awareness and bring international attention to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. We invite those who can attend this screening to see the film, to learn more about the issue of MMIWG in Canada and how it is impacting our communities and families across the country,” said Grand Chief North. “My passion for these women and girls, and their stories, is based on personal experience. Not only am I from a family who has experienced such a loss, I was a young Indigenous woman myself, and I can look back and see all the dangerous situations I was put in while living as an Indigenous woman in the urban environment. Now, as someone with more life experience, I know those dark corners of Canada’s town and cities that need more light, that need more helping hands reaching in, and that’s a big reason I made this documentary. I hope people are inspired to make change.”
The film which has just reached completion, has been an important project to both North and Yakir. Throughout the process, the producers took special care in sharing the stories of women and their families.
“Indigenous families and communities are hurting and missing loved ones right across the country. The focus of ‘1200+’ is the families in Manitoba, which some call ground-zero for the MMIW issue. It was an honour to work with the young women, their families and Sheila on a documentary that tells such a tragic story, that presents a new perspective on Canada and its relations with Indigenous families and communities,” said Leonard Yakir. “We undertook creating ‘1200+’ to bring awareness and understanding to the issue of MMIWG, hopefully awareness and understanding will also bring change.”