Remembering sisters in spirit

Indiginous children prostesting at the Sisters in Spirit vigil in Galt Gardens on October 04, 2017

Indigenous children prostesting at the Sisters in Spirit Vigil in Galt Gardens on Oct. 4.

A night to remember the missing indigenous women who were murdered and forgotten about took over the heart of Lethbridge Oct. 4 in hopes to bring change to the issue.

Over the last decade, thousands of indigenous women have gone missing due to violent circumstances and were unreported by police, which created the Sisters in Spirit Vigil 12 years ago.

The vigil started with a protest in front of city hall, which was then lead down through the street to Galt Gardens. The vigil was filled with supporters and community members to remember the lives of the missing indigenous women.

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Indigenous women in Canada are three times more likely to experience violent victimization and five times more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women.

Joey English is one of the missing murdered indigenous woman whose body was found in a treed area of Calgary in 2016.  The 25-year-old suffered a fatal overdose when Joshua Wise chopped up and disposed her body. Police were never able to find all of her missing limbs.

Louise English, Joey’s grandmother, spoke at the vigil to tell her story of loss and to give hope to other people who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one.

“It’s almost two years now that my granddaughter has been gone, not only her, but I have 2 other grandchildren that were murdered. I ask every one of you that have lost a child to ask the creator to give us that strength to carry on because it is a very sad world that we are living in,” said English.

Explaining the loss and torment she’s endured from the tragic loss of her family, English wants people to understand what a big problem this is.

“These local towns are becoming to be so awful so watch your little ones because you know what is happening today,” said English

Charlene Bruised Head Mountain-Horse, a community volunteer with Sisters in Spirit, says that not enough is being done by the government to help improve the amount of violence and murder within the indigenous community.

“Our women are suffering as a result because we are not taking action. As a committee we do demand that there be action and if there are political leaders who want to discuss strategies to implement, we would be happy to meet,” said Mountain-Horse.

Racism and discrimination go along with the issues in the indigenous community, which Mountain-Horse wants to see change within the city and country.

“We don’t want to be abrupt and abrasive in our approach. There is a lot of progress that can be made very significantly, wholeheartedly and to be positive and impactful on our community.”

Faceless dolls were made by families of lost individuals and people in the community to show the public the amount of indigenous women have fallen victim to the violence.

The Sisters in Spirit continue to fight for the voices that are unheard and missed. After 12 years the movement is getting bigger, and they plan to keep asking for support, strategies and enforcement to protect the most venerable people in Canada.

 

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