'We have been heard': Federal inquiry brings hope to vigil for missing and murdered Indigenous women
'We have been standing up shoulder to shoulder each year, and we have been heard'
There was new hope at Tuesday's 11th annual Sisters in Spirit vigil in Charlottetown — thanks to a federal inquiry that's underway into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
"We have been standing up shoulder to shoulder each year, and we have been heard," said Lennox Island chief Mathilda Ramjattan, who has attended each of the vigils held in P.E.I. since 2006.
This year, at least 100 people took part in the ceremony at Confederation Landing.
They made an "honour walk" in a circle on the park's path, while women sang and drummed. At the end of the vigil, there was a moment of silence.
'A very special event'
"And today is really a very special event. Because of all the advocating that aboriginal women across Canada has done, today we can move forward, we're moving forward with a national inquiry," said Judy Clark, president of the Aboriginal Women's Association of P.E.I.
Clark knows first hand the pain of having a missing loved one. Her aunt, Josephine Thomas McCormack, was missing for two-and-a-half months in 1968.
"My mom would call the RCMP every second day, and then when she was found we had closure and we were able to bury her," said Clark.
Stories will finally be heard
Her aunt's body was found on the shores of the Hillsborough River, but her cause of death was never determined.
Clark said the inquiry means family's stories will finally be heard.
The Sisters in Spirit vigil was first held on the Island in 2006, after the Native Women's Association of Canada started its detailed research into the alarming rate and violence against Indigenous women and girls.
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