The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

The Stolen Sisters Memorial March walked through the streets of Victoria Saturday to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. It was not a protest, said organizers, it was a memorial.

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families.

“We are in our twelfth year now and the numbers of women going missing and murdered is not decreasing. In society Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people are seen as less than. This is one of the factors as to why this is happening to our women and why we come here together today and stand in solidarity,” said Nancy Kinyewakan. “We stand here and form circles in unity to recognize and bring awareness to what has happened and what is happening to our First Nations women and children.”

RELATED: Sharing truth with art at inquiry into missing, murdered Indigenous women

Indigenous women and girls make up 4.3 percent of the total female population in Canada but make up 11.3 percent of the murdered and missing cases.

A report released by the RCMP in 2014 said that between 1980 and 2012, a total of 1,181 Indigenous women and girls were murdered or went missing. Of those, 1,017 Indigenous women and girls were homicide victims and 164 are missing.

“Violence happens in spaces of lawlessness. How is it that Indigenous women and girls are in spaces of lawlessness in this land called Canada,” said Dr. Val Napoleon, professor of aboriginal justice and governance at UVic. “The essential work of today, all of us, is to re-build Indigenous law so that we can create safe and inclusive communities.”

RELATED: Indigenous children still being treated unequally by provinces: advocate

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was launched by the federal government in 2016 to investigate the disproportionately high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and to give family members a chance to have their stories heard.

The final report with actionable solutions and recommendations for change is expected to be submitted to the federal government by April 30.

RELATED: Number of murdered or missing aboriginal women ‘horrifying’

“We come together to make change within the systems in our society – the justice system, the education system, the child welfare system, the foster care system – because almost all of us are survivors,” said Kinyewakan. “Over the years, I’ve had my voice oppressed and it took me a long time to find my voice but I stand here today to use my voice to support this important issue.”


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The march is an annual event, first started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to remember, honour and grieve for the missing or murdered Indigenous women and their families. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Just Posted

City of Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc, left, received the plaque from Terrace Community Foundation Chair, Norm Parry at George Little Park. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
VIDEO: Terrace Community Foundation marks 10 years as a philanthropic organization in the city

The plaque presented by the Foundation will be permanently displayed at City Hall

Terrace Search and Rescue vice president Dave Jephson during longline training exercises in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace Search and Rescue Operations spike in 2020

Last year was the busiest ever for Search and Rescue groups in B.C.

Terrace city staff are in the process of reaching out to local and Indigenous governments in the northwest to form a lobby group to pressure the provincial government to fix the city’s growing social issues crisis. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Province urged to fix Terrace social services ‘crisis’

City wants to form regional lobby group

The report prepared by Independent Investigations Office of BC said that no offence was committed by the police officer from Lisims/ Nass Valley RCMP detachment while responding to a stabbing incident that led to an in-custody death. (Black Press file photo)
Nass Valley RCMP officer cleared in October 2020 police-involved death

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. concludes no offence committed by police officer

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read