Thunder Bay vigil offers healing after death of Larissa Charlie-Stillaway
22-year-old died after 'serious assault', Thunder Bay police said
The Ontario Native Women's Association is holding a memorial vigil in Thunder Bay tonight to honour aboriginal victims of domestic violence.
The event also marks that one-month has passed since the death of Larissa Charlie-Stillaway, who succumbed to her injuries following an assault.
A spokesperson for the Native Women's Association said she hopes people who come to the event will pay their respects to Charlie-Stillaway and reflect on domestic violence in the community.
"We know that eight out of 10 aboriginal women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetimes and that they are three times more likely to suffer from domestic abuse than non-aboriginal women," MaryAnne Matthews said.
Aboriginal women are also seven times more likely to be victims of homicide than non-aboriginal women, she added.
"These are daughters, they're sisters, they're neighbours and they're friends," she continued.
"And ...when we lose one sister everybody feels that loss ... and it really has to be ... a community that comes together to feel that loss, to heal and then to work together to create a solution."
Sharing stories of domestic violence
Matthews said the association chose the one-month anniversary because they wanted to respect Charlie-Stillaway's family by not holding an event too soon after her passing.
However, they also wanted to do something soon enough to remind people that domestic violence is still an issue.
"It's ... the least we could do, really," she said.
The event will include a sacred fire, ceremony, drumming and refreshments. People will be invited to share in the healing process and share memories of Charlie-Stillaway. Other families can also share their stories of how domestic violence has impacted them.