Mapping Danger

Canadian Resource-Based Projects Associated with Violence Against Indigenous Women


  • Jennifer Hettinga Mount Royal University



Natural resource-based projects represent an important sector in Canada’s economy, where the energy, mining, and forestry industries accounted for 17% of Canada’s gross domestic product in 2018 (Natural Resources Canada, 2019). Many projects are located on or near Indigenous lands, disproportionately impacting Indigenous peoples (Gibson et al., 2017). The negative environmental impacts of resource-based projects are well documented (Koutouki et al., 2018; Westman & Joly, 2019); however, the social consequences are often overlooked. Recently, numerous non-profit organizations have documented a connection between resource-based projects and increased numbers of violent offences against Indigenous women (Amnesty International, 2016b; Bond & Quinlan, 2018; Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, 2021;), but few academic articles have addressed this issue. Therefore, a non-systematic scoping review was conducted on available grey literature, news articles, and academic literature to examine key concepts and themes. This review demonstrates that colonization has placed Indigenous women in Canada at higher risk of violence. The introduction of resource-based projects exacerbates this issue through three key processes: the presence of “man camps,” economic changes, and changing family dynamics. In combination with an inadequate criminal justice system, the resulting violence against Indigenous women can be categorized into three overlapping groups: domestic violence, workplace violence, and sexual violence. An economic map was developed to illustrate the locations of resource-based projects associated with this issue (see Figure 1). This paper suggests potential solutions including addressing toxic workplace culture, updating policies and protocols, ensuring meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples, and increasing government protections.

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Social Sciences & Humanities