On a snow covered evening, the eighth annual Memorial Vigil for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People filled a room at the Okanagan Regional Library to honour those that have been lost.
Over a hot meal, members of the community gathered to share stories, a prayer and sing The Honour Song.
The vigil will began at the Kelowna Courthouse at 5 p.m. for the opening prayer before moving inside.
The Memorial Vigil is held each Valentine’s Day as a way to honour those Indigenous women, as well as trans and two-spirit people, who have perished as a consequence of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional violence.
“The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has worked for more than four decades to document the systemic violence impacting Indigenous women, girls, their families, and communities. From 2005 to 2010, NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit (SIS) Initiative confirmed 582 cases of missing and/or murdered Indigenous women and girls over a span of twenty years and worked to raise awareness of this human rights issue. After funding for the five-year initiative ended, NWAC was forced to find alternative means of continuing this important documentation. From 2010 to 2014, NWAC continued to raise awareness and engage with communities through the culture-based and the creation of a comprehensive Community Resource Guide with the projects Evidence to Action I (2010-2011) and Evidence to Action II (2011-2014). Throughout our work, NWAC believed the violence against Indigenous women to be much more pervasive than publicly available data would indicate. This suspicion was confirmed in 2013, when the RCMP released a report revealing 1,181 cases of missing and/or murdered Indigenous women and girls,” states a press release.
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