Nfld. & Labrador

Happy Valley-Goose Bay vigil honours 20 missing and murdered women of Labrador

A new tribute to missing and murdered women in Labrador now lives in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay’s Friendship Centre-- the same place a group gathered for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night.

Women were killed or went missing as far back as the 1700s

Each faceless doll represents a missing or murdered woman and was handmade at the Labrador Friendship Centre friendship circle program. (CBC/Katie Breen)

A new tribute to missing and murdered women in Labrador now lives at the Friendship Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay— the same place a group gathered for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night.

20 hand-made faceless dolls stitched onto material squares make up the wall hanging.

Each represents an Indigenous or non-Indigenous woman with ties to Labrador who is either missing or has been killed.

Becky Michelin, right, helped unveil the wall hanging that commemorates the 20 missing and murdered women of Labrador. Her mom is one of them. (CBC/Katie Breen)

Becky Michelin who was present the night her mom and dad died in a 1993 murder-suicide helped unveil the tribute.

"My mother was a very beautiful individual and I know she loved all of us dearly," Michelin said.

"I know my father did too but he struggled with mental health issues."

Women honoured

Becky Michelin's family picture is displayed on a table with other missing and murdered women. They lived in Rigolet at the time of the murder-suicide. (CBC/Katie Breen)

Michelin's mom's name, Deidre Marie Michelin, was called along with each of the others before a moment of silence at a candlelight vigil Tuesday night.

The women ranged in age, from unborn to elderly. The dates they went missing or were murdered also vary.

The red, sealskin pin seen in the photo was cut out by the same group of women who made the faceless dolls for the wall hanging. Every attendee was given one. (CBC/Katie Breen)

One case dates back to the 1700s. Her name is unknown, but her life was acknowledged.

Regula Schule, who died this past July, was also remembered. A man, 30, has been charged with second-degree murder in relation to her death. 

"It's really important that we keep bringing up and talking about the women that have gone missing or have been murdered especially now since the enquiry has started," said Patricia Maloney, the community outreach worker assistant with the Labrador Friendship Centre.

The Vigil

Sisters in Spirit vigils happened across the country on Tuesday. This was the second year the Labrador Friendship Centre participated.

About 50 people attended the In Her Name vigil in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Tuesday night. (CBC/Katie Breen)

Attendees were given a red sealskin pin meant to represent the REDress Project, a light up keychain with a whistle and a long sleeve t-shirt that had a purple "in her name" ribbon embroidered over the left breast.

"There's a lot of women that are abused and murdered and missing and it's things like these that bring awareness and we put our foot down and say this needs to stop," said Michelin.

"We are the faces and we are the voices of those who can no longer speak for themselves and see for themselves."