Women across Canada came together to march for missing and murdered aboriginal women on Friday.
Thousands of women marched in cities across the country, using Valentine’s Day to put the spotlight on an alarming number of women who have disappeared.
Missing, murdered aboriginal women honoured in marches
Right now, there are more than 820 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. Far too many for Lisa Park, the founder of the Women’s Memorial March in Winnipeg.
“The significance is – who better to be with than your loved ones?” she said.
Parker’s friend Constance Cameron was murdered 30 years ago, and she is still dealing with the trauma of losing her.
“You know, as we are walking, it’s sometimes really difficult,” she said.
Before the walk, about 150 women met at the University of Winnipeg on Friday to honour the missing and murdered women with First Nations ceremonies.
The event, dubbed Heart Medicine, focused on drawing knowledge from elders to keep women safe.
“One of the things we think is important in protecting women is to reclaim the traditional knowledge,” said Leslie Spillett, the executive director of Ka Ni Kanichihk, which provides aboriginal-focused community programs and supports.
Sylvia McAdam attended the event. She organized Idle No More events in Winnipeg and said an ongoing dialogue with men about violence against aboriginal women is an important part of keeping women safe.
“We can’t just put the responsibility on women,” she said.
McAdam would like to see a national inquiry to help educate people across Canada about “the enormity and the incredible crisis that indigenous women are faced with on a daily basis.”
Because that inquiry has not come, McAdam said she will march to honour missing and murdered aboriginal women.