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Author claims media, police ignore Native women Study focuses on Canadian serial killer

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  • Ishgooda, Senior Staff
    Author claims media, police ignore Native women Study focuses on Canadian serial killer TULSA OK Sam Lewin 3/1/2004
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2004
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      Author claims media, police ignore Native women Study focuses on Canadian serial killer

      TULSA OK Sam Lewin 3/1/2004
      http://nativetimes.com/index.asp?action=displayarticle&article_id=3937

      If a serial killer is responsible for the deaths of several American Indian women in Oklahoma and Texas, it would not be first time Natives disproportionately are attacked by spree-murderers. Gary Ridgeway, the confessed Green River Killer, killed several Native American women, all prostitutes, before he was finally arrested.

      In Alaska, so many Native Alaskan women have died under suspicious circumstances in the past few years that protests have been organized to encourage Anchorage police to appoint a task force to investigate.

      Several years ago, a book about a serial killer targeting Native woman in Canada made the case that law enforcement and the media have an instinctive bias when it comes to such victims.

      According to a review in “ The First Perspective”, a magazine serving Canada’s indigenous community, Warren Goulding, a reporter for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, wrote about the discovery of the bodies of three Native women, ranging in age from 16 to 35, that were raped and murdered in the fall of 1994. The slayings eventually led to the trial of serial killer John Martin Crawford, who was convicted in all three slayings. He had previously served time on a manslaughter charge for the death of a Native woman in the early 1980’s.

      Goulding’s book, “Just Another Indian: A Serial Killer and Canada’s Indifference”, makes the case that the women were initially dismissed as prostitutes, without any attempt to humanize them.

      “I didn’t think the media coverage portrayed the victims accurately or fairly,” Goulding says. “Right away, the media decided that these three women were—number one— prostitutes, which is inaccurate.”

      Goulding said the media “just had no interest” in learning more about the victims, and he believes Crawford specifically targeted that part of the population.

      “I think it was a matter of survival. He had a better chance of getting away with it…a huge percentage of women that are on these streets are Native. In Saskatoon they use numbers like 80 per cent, sometimes I think that it’s closer to 90 per cent,” he said.

      The book was published in 2001 and is available through Fifth House Ltd, Calgary, Alberta.

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