A Sisters In Spirit Vigil Walk – to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada – took place in Hay River on Oct. 4.
“We just want to bring awareness that some of these cases have never been solved. Some of them have even barely been looked at,” said Crystal Hope, the assistant executive director trainee at Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, which organized the vigil walk in Hay River.
“And some of the families they hold their grief too hard to speak for themselves, so when we walk it’s like we’re showing our support for them so that they know that there’s people that still care so it can help them keep going forward without their loved ones,” she added.
Hope explained that she and others also walk for personal reasons.
“We walk for our children, too, because they’re Indigenous girls,” she said. “I have Indigenous daughters and I hope one day that they’ll be able to live freely in Canada without worrying that if they made a wrong move that something could happen to them, and people would look for them. That they’re just as important as anyone else in Canada.”
The vigil walk in Hay River attracted about 30 people.
There were similar events across the country on Oct. 4 promoted by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, including in Yellowknife and Fort Smith.
Vivian LaFleur of Hay River Victim Services participated in the vigil walk.
“It’s kind of sad because a lot of people tell me that they feel like their family members have been forgotten, if they’re missing for years and years or if they’re murdered,” she said.
LaFleur said the walkers felt public support.
“A lot of people slowed down and stopped, and even some joined in,” she said.
A National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is currently underway.