Marchers make their way north on Ninth Street toward city hall during last year’s national Sisters in Spirit Vigil and Walk.
A number of missing and murdered aboriginal women will be remembered, honoured and brought to the forefront in Brandon on Friday.
This year’s Sisters in Spirit Vigil begins at 4 p.m. at Brandon University. There will be a few speakers in BU’s courtyard followed by a walk to Dinsdale Park for a special flower petals ceremony.
"Along the way we will be tying some ribbons onto trees, just to acknowledge all the women that have been murdered or are missing," said Roberta MacKinnon, one of the event organizers. "We need to bring it to the forefront that these women every day are going missing. There are women that are murdered and missing and nobody is doing anything about it."
Once they reach Dinsdale Park, they plan on laying 582 flower petals in water to signify the increasing number of murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls.
"Today it is well over 600, but we don’t have an actual count on it," MacKinnon said.
Along with helping plan this year’s vigil, MacKinnon has her personal reason for getting involved. In 1980, a few of her friends went missing and their cases are still unsolved, she said.
"These women never had anybody brought to justice because of what they did to them. They are forgotten," she said. "It’s sad because I know very easily it could have been me."
After trying to look into the disappearances of her friends, McKinnon said she was "warned" to back off the investigation.
"Nobody is looking for these ladies. Nobody is looking for these women. Nobody seems to care," she said.
Earlier this week, the Native Women’s Association of Canada announced there are more than 200 Sisters in Spirit Vigils happening across Canada on Friday. According to NWAC, vigils will take on many forms including a rally, a candle-light vigil, a workshop, a moment of silence, a walk or a gathering of people to share memories and a meal with.
"NWAC hopes that the Sisters In Spirit Vigil movement will live on for generations, with Oct. 4 being a national day of remembrance for aboriginal women and girls not only in Canada but across the globe," reads a statement on their website, nwac.ca.
Keeping in spirit with the event, MacKinnon said they’re hoping to gather 5,000 signatures to send to NWAC in Ottawa in hopes of prompting a national inquiry into the whereabouts of all these missing women.
"We’re hoping that there will be a national inquiry into why aren’t these women being looked at as other human beings, why are they being left," she said. "We’re asking all levels of government to work with aboriginal women and representative organizations ... to support a call for a national public inquiry."
So far, some BU students have collected nearly 250 signatures.
Those expected to attend Friday’s event include BU president Deborah Poff, Brandon Police Service Chief Ian Grant and Insp. Doug Thompson, MacKinnon said.
"Whoever shows up is meant to come and there’s a reason why they are there."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 3, 2013