"Now that the information is out, what do we do with it?" National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Friday in an interview from Regina.
"We all have to start putting our heads and minds and hearts together to start planning the strategies ... to end violence amongst men, amongst women in our communities."
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson released the statistic in a letter obtained by The Canadian Press. The letter is addressed to Chief Bernice Martial of Cold Lake First Nation in Alberta, who is also grand chief of Treaty 6.
Martial had asked Paulson to verify the number, questioning whether the figure, earlier spoken of by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt, was accurate.
"The consolidated data from the nearly 300 contributing police agencies has confirmed that 70 per cent of the offenders were of aboriginal origin, 25 per cent were non-aboriginal and five per cent were of unknown ethnicity," Paulson wrote.
"However, it is not the ethnicity of the offender that is relevant, but rather the relationship between the victim and offender that guides our focus with respect to prevention."
He said most female homicides, across all races, are linked to family and spousal violence. About 62 per cent of aboriginal women and 74 per cent of non-aboriginal women, are killed by a spouse, intimate relation or family member.
The RCMP don't typically release data related to race, said Paulson, because it can stigmatize vulnerable populations. He suggested it was fine to release what Valcourt already had.
Dawn Harvard, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, said she doesn't understand why Paulson released the figure.
"I feel like saying, 'So what?' How does that make it less of a concern? How does that make it less of a tragedy?"
While the released data may help point in a direction of needed community programs, there's still a need for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, Harvard said.
The RCMP issued a report in 2014 that put the total of missing and murdered aboriginal women at 1,181 (164 missing, 1,017 murdered) between 1980 and 2012.
Although indigenous women make up four per cent of the Canadian population, the report found they accounted for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11 per cent of missing women.
The federal government has refused calls for an inquiry, saying it is more interested in taking action than studying the issue.
Everyone — aboriginal men and governments included — need to take responsibility to combat violence, Bellegarde said.
It's a complicated issue linked to poverty, addiction, high incarceration rates and, in the end, abuse in residential schools that previous generations endured, Bellegarde said.
"You're not whole as a human being when you come out of that system, and then now you're trying to raise a family and trying to have a healthy relationship when you don't even know how to love," he said.
"The violence in our communities has become so normal and it's not normal. And that's what we've got to start breaking."
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