Vigils and gatherings will be held in communities across the north Friday to honour missing or murdered Aboriginal women.

Known as ‘Sisters in Spirit’ events, the gatherings seek to raise awareness about the number of Aboriginal women who have been killed or have disappeared. The Native Women’s Association of Canada puts that number at more than 600 in the last 20 years — a number disputed by the RCMP.

In Sudbury, people will gather at the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre for a walk to city hall.

Remembering through art

mocassin tops

The Walking With Our Sisters exhibit — created by Espanola artists Christi Belcourt — is now on display in Edmonton. It will tour North America for seven years, including stops in northern Ontario. (Supplied)

An artist from Espanola is also trying to raise awareness about the issue through a unique art exhibit called Walking With Our Sisters.

Christi Belcourt put out a call for people to sew moccasin tops in memory of women that have been lost — and she received more than 1,700 pairs from around North America.

“Each pair represents the unfinished life of a missing or murdered indigenous woman,” she said.

“So it is an art exhibit, but it also a memorial and commemorative piece that people are creating to honour the lives of the women. The whole point for me is about honouring and about ceremony and about saying that these women’s lives matter."

Belcourt’s exhibit opened in Edmonton this week.

It will tour North America for the next seven years, including future stops in northeastern Ontario.

According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the following events will take place Friday in northeastern Ontario:

  • Cochrane – Ininew Friendship Centre
  • Fort Albany – Fort Albany Frist Nation Pettabeck Academy Dreamcatcher Arena
  • Garden River – Anishanaabekwe of the North Shore
  • Kapuskasing – Kapuskasing Indian Friendship Centre
  • North Bay – North Bay Indian Friendship Centre
  • Manitouwanig – Community Highschool event
  • Mattawa – Mattawa Women’s Resource Centre
  • M’Chigeeng – United Chiefs of Mnidoo Mnising, Mantioulin Hotel and Conference Centre
  • Moose Factory – Moose Cree First Nation Health Services
  • Sault Ste. Marie – Sault College Native Education Department
  • Sudbury – N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre
  • Timmins – Timmins Native Friendship Centre
  • Wasauksing First Nation – Community Centre Gymnasium
  • Wawa – Mchiacoten First Nation at Iris Place
  • Wikwemikong – Ngwaagan Gamig Recovery Centre