The annual March and Vigil for Missing and Murdered Native Women will take place at Place Émilie Gamelin, this Saturday, on October 4, between 6PM and 9PM.
Saturday’s event will be the ninth in a series of vigils, the first of which was organized by Bridget Tolley, an Indigenous woman whose mother was killed by Quebec police in 2001. Initially, the vigils were held in collaboration with Sisters in Spirit, an Indigenous research and policy initiative of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). However, the initiative lost its federal funding in 2010, yet the vigils go on.
This year’s vigil is held by Missing Justice, Quebec Native Women and the Centre for Gender Advocacy; and will include speeches given by activists such as Bridget Tolley, Ellen Gabriel, Melissa Mollen Dupuis and more.
As to why this event is extremely important, here is what the organizers have to say about it on the event’s Facebook page:
“The purpose of this event is to honour the memories of missing and murdered women and girls, raise awareness about the systemic nature of the violence and the ways in which media, governments, the legal system, police forces, and the education system all facilitate this violence. We demand that the government support the actions of affected families and communities by fulfilling resounding demands for a public inquiry into these unchecked levels of violence. The RCMP reported earlier this year that more than 1000 aboriginal women were homicide victims between 1980 and 2012, and a further 164 were missing. Meanwhile, indigenous activists put the number of cases closer to 3000.”
The Conservative government has been turning a blind eye to all requests for holding an inquiry regarding the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada. As of February of this year, NWAC has garnered more than 20 000 signatures, yet still Canada remains passive. If even having a simple inquiry is taking this long, just imagine how long would it take for the government to take any solid action to prevent more Indigenous women from becoming missing or murdered.
The least you can do is stand in solidarity with the friends and families of those whom we are remembering. Let them know that they do not have to stand alone.