Sisters in Spirit vigil pushes for inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women
One of more than 200 events taking place in Canada and beyond, according to organizers
Hundreds gathered for the Sisters in Spirit Vigil in Calgary on Monday, an annual event to remember missing and murdered indigenous women.
"Sisters in Spirit is an international initiative that was started 10 years ago to remember the huge numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women in this country," said Josie Nepinak of the Awo Taan Healing Lodge, an emergency women's shelter that provides services based on traditional First Nations teaching.
"Now the public record tells us that there are 1,200 missing and murdered women, although those of us that work on the front line, we know that the numbers are much higher. "
This year's vigil is part of a national movement calling for a national inquiry into the issue and also aims to support families "who have been tragically touched by the loss due to violence," according to a press release.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi attended the event.
"We join cities across the country, and city councils across the country, that say 'look, this isn't right,'" he said.
"And of course it's a municipal issue because many, many, many First Nations people live in cities and the issues around law enforcement, the issues around violence prevention, are very much issues that we deal with every single day."
Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman of the Siksika Nation thinks an inquiry, which has been rejected by the current federal government, is critical.
"Once you get the inquiry you're going to see a lot of things come out and those things have to be dealt with, each and every one of them," he said.
"You will see things.... That is why these marches are happening. There are things that the general public, the government, needs to hear, needs to see and we want answers to those things."