Years of campaigning led by Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people resulted in government finally calling an inquiry to investigate the scope and scale of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit persons, and to identify solutions to end the violence. In June 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issued its final report, including 231 Calls for Justice.
Two years later, in June 2021, the federal government released a National Action Plan aimed at transforming the Calls for Justice into concrete actions. The plan lacks detailed implementation plans, timelines, and accountability measures. Action is still needed to encourage government to take concrete action to end the violence, and solidarity is needed with Indigenous activists who have worked tirelessly, in some cases for decades, to ensure justice for their stolen sisters.
Annually on October 4th, hundreds of Sisters in Spirit vigils are held in communities across Canada to honour Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people who have gone missing or been murdered, and every year Amnesty members participate in these vigils.
Last year, many vigils were cancelled or moved online to comply with public health guidelines. With the uncertainty of the fourth wave of the pandemic, it is unclear whether local vigil organizers will opt for in-person or virtual vigils. Thank you for complying with public health guidelines on in person gatherings. Whether it’s in person or online, please take time on October 4th to take action to end violence against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit people.
READ THE CAMPAIGN GUIDE
Read the No More Stolen Sisters Campaign Guide, released in March 2021. The guide focuses on how you can support Indigenous-led local activism to end violence against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit people, and is particularly relevant as you consider how to support and participate in October 4 vigils.
TAKE THE SURVEY
Have you read the guide and begun implementing its suggestions on how to support Indigenous-led local activism? Please take five minutes to complete this survey on actions you have taken to implement the guide. Survey participants will be entered in a draw to win hand beaded earrings made by grassroots advocate Bridget Tolley and a face mask from Indigenous Face Masks. Complete the survey by October 8 to be eligible for the draw! Complete the survey here.
PARTICIPATE IN A VIGIL
- Vigils are organized at the community level. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) publishes an online list of vigils registered with them. Visit NWAC’s Sisters in Spirit vigil webpage for further information.
- NWAC is organizing a virtual national vigil on Monday, October 4 at 2pm EST and will be live streamed from NWAC’s Facebook page.
- Please contact the organizers of previous vigils in your community to see if they plan to organize an activity to mark October 4 this year. Indigenous women’s organizations, grassroots advocates, communities, friendship centres, and Indigenous community and service organizations often organize vigils.
- Amnesty participates in vigils to demonstrate our solidarity and to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Vigils are a solemn occasion and events are centred on the voices of rights holders. Amnesty refrains from bringing petitions (unless, as has happened a few times in the past, they are co-created with Indigenous partners), large Amnesty backdrops, or having too visible of a presence. Wearing an Amnesty t-shirt or holding a small banner in the audience is completely ok and is a great way to express solidarity. Amnesty generally does not speak at vigils unless it is upon invitation from Indigenous partners, solidarity-focused, very brief, and after rights holders have spoken.
ORGANIZE A VIGIL
- If nothing is planned for your community, consider co-organizing a virtual vigil with Indigenous partners, using the guidance provided in the No More Stolen Sisters campaign guide.
OTHER WAYS TO TAKE ACTION!
- Read the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice directed to all people in Canada.
- Check out Amnesty’s social media feeds (Facebook and Twitter) on October 4th. We always have a post about honouring the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people who have gone missing or been murdered. Share these posts on your social media feeds.
- E-actions and letter-writing actions for this campaign will be updated after the federal election, to be held September 20.