The Native Women’s Association of Canada says that there are over 500 murdered or missing Aboriginal women and girls across the country.
To raise awareness on the issue and to remember those lost, over 100 colleges across Canada held Sisters in Spirit candlelight vigils on Oct. 4, including the first annual at Northwest Community College (NWCC) in Prince Rupert.
The event was put on by the Northwest Community College Students’ Union, with Inez Shanoss and Michael Jensen organizing it.
“We have decided to hold a candle light vigil, one that is more intimate, one that honours our murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls, and supports their grieving families,” Shanoss said.
Aboriginal drummers lead by Marlena Joseph started and ended the event. Drummers included Sharon Watts, Julia Watts, Heather Watts, Vivian Watts and Caren Young.
People in attendance held lit candles and shared a moment of silence to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
There were also a number of speakers at the event including Marlene Swift, who is victim services manager for the Prince Rupert RCMP, Charlotte Reece, who shared a poem and a song, William Brown who attended the vigil and shared a story about the loss of his sister, as well as a letter from MLA Gary Coons and MP Nathan Cullen.
Additionally, there was a petition for people to sign calling for a national inquiry on the issue.