OKIB hangs red dresses as part of missing, murdered women vigil

Event near Kelowna Tuesday put the spotlight on the issue of missing aboriginal women and girls

Carol Chalifoux takes part in the Sisters in Spirit vigil on the Okanagan Indian Reserve Tuesday.

Statistics often strip Canada’s murdered and missing aboriginal women of their identities.

An RCMP report indicates there have been about 1,200 women and girls go missing or killed nationally over 30 years, and while the figure may actually be higher, advocates insist the focus must be on the loss of individual lives.

“These women were daughters, mothers and aunts,” said Coola Louis, an Okanagan Indian Band councillor during the Sisters in Spirit vigil Tuesday.

“These women had places in our hearts. They were beautiful women capable of doing beautiful things.”

The Sisters in Spirit National Day of Vigils was part of the See Me, Hear Me, Remember Me Red Dress campaign, with red dresses symbolizing the victims of violence.

“There is greater strength in unity and we’re coming together,” said Glen Louis, one of the organizers.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada says that between 2000 and 2008, aboriginal women and girls represented 10 per cent of all female homicides in Canada but they only make up three per cent of the country’s female population.

“It’s going to take all of us collectively to address this national shame,” said Coola Louis.

For Coun. Allan Louis, action must occur among the younger generations.

“We need to educate our girls and boys about the seriousness of these crimes to our sisters,” he said.

For Joan Vedan, she continues to struggle with the pain caused by her mother’s murder in Vancouver in 1988.

“I wish I could have told her how much I needed her,” said Vedan, who was 18 at the time.

“I hope the government will take care of this issue because it’s a crisis.”

As part of the vigil, red dresses were hung on a fence along Westside Road.

“It’s not just one day that we remember. We remember every day,” said Glenda Louis.

Just Posted

Okanagan makes Top 5 of least affordable home markets list

The Okanagan is the fourth least affordable place in Canada to buy property on a single income

Stargate armour debuts at Kelowna expo

The Kelowna Fan Experience will feature Jaffa armour from Stargate SG-1

Kelowna summit will connect employers and immigrants

A session will be held tomorrow from 12 to 3 p.m. at the downtown library

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

West Kelowna resident missing

Police are concerned for the health and well-being of a 21-year-old West Kelowna man

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Vernon police search van possibly connected to bear spray incident

Police searched a yellow cube van, Thursday afternoon, at Vernon Auto Towing

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Bank employees save Penticton woman $6k from CRA scam

Would-be victim said she was hit while vulnerable from a family issue and initially fell for the trap

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Wanted North Okanagan man sought

RCMP are seeking man wanted on assault with a weapon, failing to comply with probation counts

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Most Read