Every Valentine's day Canadian streets fill up with those marching in memory of fallen sisters, mothers, grandmothers, and daughters and demanding that the violence stops. 

This year was no different.

In Edmonton the pounding of drums could be heard as hundreds processed through the cities downtown for the Women's Memorial March.

The march has its roots in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside 26 years ago. Today, the issue brings thousands to the streets in cities across the country.

Danielle Boudreau founded the Edmonton march after her sister was murdered. She says the march keeps the memory of these women alive.

"I think that it's really important that we just not forget who these women were," Boudreau told CBC News.

"In the beginning, they all thought it was a prostitution, and addiction issue, but really it's not about that." 

"It's just about respecting each other and learning not to be violent," she added 

Women's Memorial March2:03

There was a cautious optimism amidst the somber air as they made their way through Edmonton. For the first time, the federal government has promised an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. 

Federal Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould attended the Vancouver march, something she's done before but not while in office.

"We've committed first and foremost to meet with the families," said Wilson-Raybould. "Certainly we've committed to working with organizations, aboriginal organizations, women's organizations, front line workers. We welcome all contributions, all perspectives, all suggestions."  

Danielle Boudreau Womens Memorial March Edmonton Founder

Danielle Boudreau has been organizing the march in Edmonton for 10 years. (CBC)

Boudreau says the common bounds and connections found among the participants at the march are immensely important. She says just to hear someone say 'I know what you're going through' can make a world of difference. 

"If it wasn't for the support of the families and the people that join us, I don't think I could have kept going on it."