PEI

'We will not forget you:' Sisters in Spirit Vigil honours MMIWG

A Sisters in Spirit vigil was held at Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown Friday to honour the many missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada.

'Unless something is done, it will continue to be an issue in our communities'

The annual event honours the more than 1,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

"We will not forget you, we'll always honour you. No matter what we do, we'll stand and fight for you."

Those were the words to a song written by Starr Bennett and sung at the Sisters in Spirit vigil at Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown Friday, one of many across the country held on this day to honour the many missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada.

"We've been fighting for this for a long time. We meet here every year and it just means so much," said Marlene Thomas, the interim president of the Aboriginal Women's Association of Prince Edward Island.

Thomas said she was proud of the substantial crowd that came out for the vigil.

In June the national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls released its report with 231 sweeping recommendations to address systemic violence in Indigenous communities.

Thomas said she hopes the report and Friday's vigil remind the provincial and municipal governments to act. 

"We have to put everything in action and all work together," she said. "I'm so happy they were all here to address this and they all spoke on it."

'Unless something is done, it will continue'

The day was also dedicated to P.E.I. Mi'kmaq elder Alma MacDougall who died earlier this year due to health complications. 

Sisters in Spirit vigild are held in cities and towns across Canadian cities every Oct. 4 since 2004. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC )

"She was extremely committed to the Sisters in Spirit vigil along with the cause of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada," said Thomas. "We know, Alma, that you are standing with us today."

This was Sister Shelley Grant first time at a Sisters in Spirit vigil, since she moved to P.E.I in April.

Grant has worked with Indigenous communities in B.C. and the Yukon and echoed Thomas's calls to action.

"Unless something is done, it will continue to be an issue in our communities," she said. 

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About the Author

Isabella Zavarise is a video journalist with CBC in P.E.I. You can contact her at isabella.zavarise@cbc.ca

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