PRESS RELEASE: Communities Across Canada Hold 11th Annual October 4th Sisters In Spirit Vigils to Honour MMIWG

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October 4, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – Communities across Canada are hosting vigils to honour and commemorate the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as part of the annual October 4th Sisters in Spirit vigils.

For eleven years, since 2006, family members, community members, and concerned citizens have come together, organizing candlelight vigils, rallies and community feasts to honour our lost sisters, daughters, mothers, healers, educators, and leaders.

October 4th Sisters In Spirit Vigil at Parliament Hill in 2015.
October 4th Sisters In Spirit Vigil at Parliament Hill in 2015.

“I would like to acknowledge the strong and resilient Indigenous women leaders across this country who have created and fortified this movement for social change by applying pressure every year on governments to address the alarming rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls.” said Interim President Francyne Joe.  “This year’s Sisters in Spirit October 4th vigils are especially crucial, as we turn our attention and expectations towards the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

The first Sisters in Spirit October 4th Vigils were hosted in 2006 after the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) had begun its detailed research into the alarming rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, under the umbrella of the Status of Women-funded Sisters In Spirit research and policy initiative. The resulting database found that there were over 582 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, with the confirmed numbers rising to 1 181 after the RCMP published its report in 2014.

Elder Annie Modeste smudging at the 2015 October 4th Vigil.
Algonquin Elder Annie Smith St. George smudging at the 2015 October 4th Vigil.

Close to 100 communities across Canada will be hosting October 4th Sister In Spirit Vigils this year, illustrating the strength and leadership of Indigenous women, families, and communities in supporting family members in their grief and raising public awareness to address this tragic crisis in Canadian society.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) stands in support and solidarity with the numerous communities during today’s October 4 Vigils as we fight against the violence and injustices inflicted upon our Indigenous women and girls.

 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.  As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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