"It is so many years and so many sisters lost that, sometimes, it becomes really overwhelming," says Chantal Chagnon, who helped organize the Calgary march for missing and murdered indigenous women Sunday evening.

Hundreds joined her in the eight annual event for Calgary and thousands more in cities across the country.

Chagnon says it's just a little different this year.

Chantal Chagnon

Organizer Chantal Chagnon says this year, it's just a little bit different. (CBC)

"It is really great that we are finally getting acknowledgement for a lot of things that have happened and with the new government stepping up and saying we are going to do an inquiry," she explained.

The newly-elected Liberal government outlined how it would proceed with the inquiry in December, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying it was time.

"Those touched by this tragedy have waited long enough. The victims deserve justice, their families an opportunity to heal," he told the Assembly of First Nations at a Gatineau, Que., Conference.

Advocates of an inquiry faced an uphill battle with the previous government.

But for Calgary advocates, the time is now.

Calgary allies join aboriginal advocates for a MMIW inquiry

Calgary allies join aboriginal advocates for a MMIW inquiry Sunday evening. (CBC)

"We are cautiously optimistic that things will change," Chagnon said.

She said, in addition to all of the First Nation people in the march Sunday, there are lots of non-aboriginal allies.

"It shows solidarity and it brings people together to share culture, to share wisdom, to share stories," Chagnon said.

"The stories are what and who we are. Those sisters that we lost weren't just a number, they were people, they were mothers, they were daughters, they were cousins, they were aunties and we will never have those moments with them again but we honour them by sharing their stories tonight."