Tenth Annual Vigil Raises Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Protesters Say More Needs to be Done to Protect Indigenous Women

Last week, Indigenous marches and ceremomy’s were held denouncing the Canadian governments discrimination of Indigenous women and remembering those who have been murdered or missing. Photo Caitlin Yarldey

The names of about 50 Indigenous women and girls, who were either murdered or are missing, was read to the crowd following a moment of silence.

“These are all individuals not just a list or a statistic,” said Dayna Danger from Concordia’s Centre of Gender Advocacy.

On Thursday afternoon, students, parents and, supporters of Indigenous rights gathered by Berri-UQAM metro for Montreal’s 10th annual Love in Action; an event that supports and raises awareness for Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirits.

Julie Michaud, one of the organizers and the outreach coordinator at the Centre for Gender Advocacy, handed out posters to participants. They later went out in groups to ride the metro, raising awareness to the issue at hand, to show little is being done by the government to the problem.

Protesters highlighted that 125 women or girls have been murdered or gone missing since the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015 and the conception of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

In a 2014 report from the RCMP, it was estimated that over 1,200 women and girls had either gone missing or been murdered between 1980 and 2012. However, some believe the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women is closer to 4,000.

“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of the seriousness of the epidemic of murdered [and] missing Indigenous women girls and two spirits,” said Dr. Elizabeth Fast, who attended the gathering.

Fast also teaches in the Applied Human Sciences Department at Concordia and is the Vice-President of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.

“It’s one way of raising awareness, it’s also a way of showing the families and the friends of people that have gone missing that they have support and solidarity and that we don’t agree with the way things are,” continued Fast.

After they went through every stop between Berri-UQAM and Atwater, participants gathered at Dawson College for a dinner and to listen to guest speakers.

The demonstration also served as a vigil to remember the victims.

“As much as Canadians like to believe that we are a benevolent, kind nation we know very clearly that there is a virulent current of anti-Indigenous racism running through this country,” said Michaud.

“All these disappearances and murders are evidence of that.”