Nfld. & Labrador

Anniversary of Bernice Rich's murder marked by community walk

People in Natuashish walked for all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

People in Natuashish walked for all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Bernice Rich was 23 when she was killed by a man in Sheshatshiu. (Facebook)

Parents held their children's hands. Men in the community prayed. And others wore purple as they walked side by side, through Natuashish on Thursday to remember Bernice Rich and all other missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

Rich died at 23, when Gordon Milley choked her, then dragged her body into the woods in Sheshatshiu, where she was later discovered.

The walk for missing and murdered women and girls was dedicated to Rich, who was killed six years ago Thursday.

"She was everybody's friend. Lovely and kind. She was always there for people when they needed someone to talk to," said Donna Andrew, Rich's cousin and close friend. 

More than 100 people marched in purple T-shirts in memory of Bernice Rich and other missing and murdered Indigenous women. (Gregory Rich Sr./Facebook)

Women in the community wore handmade traditional purple skirts in honour of Rich. 

Data compiled in 2018 revealed of the more than 600 Canadian communities examined, Happy Valley-Goose Bay had the sixth-highest rates of police-reported violence against women.

"When we first announced this event would be coming up, people stopped and thought about Bernice, and the violence against women all over the world. Especially in Natuashish," Andrew said.

"Bernice would have been so proud."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Labrador Morning