Sisters in Spirit Vigils Call for Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
On October 4, vigils and other events were held in Quebec and across Canada to honour the memory of the more than 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. This was the 14th year the vigils have been held.
The vigils support grieving families and provide opportunities for healing; and aim to be a movement for social change, united in the demand for action on an issue that affects us all, the Native Women’s Association of Canada states in its organizing kits for the events.
This year vigils took place across Alberta in a province-wide day of action, with programs in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray among other places. In Winnipeg a gathering was held at the provincial legislature building.
Families of Sisters in Spirit organized a vigil at the eternal flame on Parliament Hill. One year ago on this occasion organizers read out the names of the 124 Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people who had been murdered since the Trudeau government came to power in 2015, with its promises to end the violence and establish a new relationship with Indigenous peoples. That number has now risen to more than 140.
The number of those missing and murdered is a damning indictment of the government’s refusal to act. The disappearances and deaths continue while the state refuses to investigate these cases and bring those responsible to justice, in some cases dismissing suspicious deaths as suicides, and missing women as having run away and “not wanting to be found.”
This year’s vigils comes five months after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls published its final report including its 231 calls for justice, aimed at addressing the root causes of the disproportionate levels of violence facing Indigenous peoples.
New Westminister, BC
Fort McMurray, AB
Six Nations, ON
Bay St. George, NL
(Photos: RU, AFN, Unifor, CMHA Newfoundland, B. Arte, P. Bourque, E. Olsen, E. Brass, T. Yao, HCSL, SN Canada, Construction Rehab.)