Approximately 30 people marched through Yellowknife in memory of slain Indigenous youths Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie.
Event organizer Jaylene Delorme-Buggins said she planned the march to remind Indigenous youth that their lives matter.
“I shared a message on Facebook, that I felt that my life as an Indigenous youth in Canadian society today, […] was just disposable and there was no value. I had people reaching out to me sharing that message of hope that my life has value, it does matter,” said Delorme-Buggins said.
Participants marched from the old KFC building to the Legislative Assembly for a smudge ceremony and speeches.
“People are going to tell you that you’re too sensitive, that you just need to relax and think happy thoughts,” said attendee Greyson Gritt. “I think those people are afraid to face the fact that we live in a really complicated society that was founded on injustice for Indigenous peoples and for basically anyone who doesn’t follow the status quo of white, European settlers.”
“If you do have some of those privileges, I encourage you to speak out, to call out injustice when you see it, even if it makes you inconvenient. It takes a lot of courage to challenge your friends. And that’s a really great place to start,” Gritt said.
Community advocate Gail Cyr called for dialogue around the verdicts.
“Nothing should have ever happened to (Fontaine) with the involvement of Child and Family Services of Manitoba. She was a 15-year-old baby. Let’s do better everywhere. You know they call it the Sixties Scoop, but there are thousands of children in care,” said Cyr.
“I urge people to start that conversation of what can we do for change. Instead of asking people in power to make the change. The power within you is sometimes stronger than the people in power, so start with yourself and work your way up,” said Delorme-Buggins.
Buggins encouraged people to tag online conversations with #WeAreNotDisposable to raise the profile around those conversations.
“I wanted it to not be something where we’re rallying or protesting, but we’re shedding light positively on a cause. We’re putting it out there that Indigenous lives matter,” she said.