Bells toll across Canada for missing and murdered aboriginal women
Cathedral bells will ring each Wednesday until National Aboriginal Day on June 21
A cross-country chorus of 1,122 bells tolled from Anglican churches this afternoon, one for each aboriginal woman on the RCMP's list of missing and murdered.
It took nearly an hour and a half.
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The initiative, part of the 22 Days campaign, called on churches to ring their bells together at 2 p.m. to create a "wave of sound" across the country.
"It's very moving. It's a very strange sound. It changes the sound of Ste-Catherine Street," said Rev. Paul Kennington, the Rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal.
"People look up and ask why is it ringing and they're interested to hear, 'To raise awareness about indigenous women missing and murdered,' and I have to say it's a bit of a scandal that people don't know much about it."
The 22 Days campaign, named to mark the time between the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and National Aboriginal Day, was started by deans from several Anglican churches across Canada.
It encourages Canadians to make a commitment towards reconciliation, offering a number of suggestions of steps to take including learning to say "Thank you," in an indigenous language, talking to children about the history of residential schools and identifying one of the calls to action from the TCR that matters personally.
Anglican churches across Canada have created displays marking the work of the commission, the relationship between the church and aboriginal people, and the legacy of the residential schools.
"But that's inside and we thought, how do we take that outside?" Kennington said. "The bells seemed a very easy and obvious way of attracting attention and saying, 'Find out about this and speak to the people who can make things change.'"
Fifty churches in total, two in Quebec, participated in the bell-ringing event today as the events surrounding the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission closed in Ottawa.
The bells will ring again June 10 and June 17.