Red Dress Walk strolls through North Okanagan

(Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
(Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
(Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
(Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
The Splatsin First Nation’s Red Dress Walk took place in Enderby Thursday morning. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)
Participants wore red ribbons and clothing and carried signs to show remembrance of those missing. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)
Police escorted the group through the streets of Enderby from the bridge to the community centre. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)
(Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Unmistakable chants of “Gone but not forgotten” and “No more stolen sisters” rang out across the river in Enderby Thursday morning to honour all murdered and missing women.

From across the Len Bawtree Bridge, passersby couldn’t miss the sea of about two-dozen people sporting red-coloured clothing or miss the sound of the drum. Smoke rose over the water. Upon a closer look, you could spot dresses, all red in colour, hanging from the branches of the trees behind them.

Related: Red Dress Walk honours, remembers missing North Okanagan women

Related: Red dresses send a message

To remember all murdered and missing women, the Splatsin Nation and MMIW Drone Search Team hosted a Red Dress Walk — a nation-wide initiative that seeks to inform the public about Canada’s high number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. As part of the campaign, people within the community are asked to hang a red dress.

“There are a lot of missing women right across B.C. and we search for them all,” said Jody Leon of the Splatsin First Nation. “It’s important for people to continue to talk about the women within the Splatsin First Nation area — and for all women — and to go forward and not allow their names or their stories to be forgotten because out of that answers will come out to the RCMP and that will give closure to the families.”

The women the ceremony seeks to remember include Potts, Simpson, Wertz, Bell and Traci Genereaux, whose remains were found on a Salmon River Road farm in Silver Creek in October 2017. They were all reported missing from the area in 2016 and 2017.

Speakers for the event, which began at 11 a.m. on the east side of the Len Bawtree Bridge, included the Neskonlith Indian Band Chief and Jody Leon of the Drone Search Team. A police escort in tow, the group made their way through the streets bearing signs that read, “Missing but never forgotten”, “No more violence against women”, and “No more stolen sisters”, among others.

The group eventually made their way to the Community Centre where lunch was served to participants following more speakers.

“We want people to be involved and to continue to speak out,” said Leon. “We want everyone to know that we will continue to look for missing women and we won’t give up.”

Related: Family remembers mother at Red Dress Walk

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

Related: Search for missing women to continue

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