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Families of Sisters in Spirit gather today to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women

    October 04, 2011

    Families of Sisters in Spirit, along with our allies, call upon all peoples of this land to show solidarity and support for the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Families are sharing stories of struggle and strength on Parliament Hill on October 4, 2011 at 10:30AM for the 6th Annual Sisters in Spirit vigil. The vigil is followed by a solidarity march to Victoria Island at noon for a feast and social justice fair.

    “It is so important that we keep getting the stories of our missing and murdered loved ones out there so that more people can become aware of how much of a crisis this is; and how it affects hundreds, if not thousands of families and communities” says Laurie Odjick who is speaking on Parliament Hill, and is the mother of Maisy Odjick who disappeared along with her friend Shannon Alexander in September 2008.

    Across Canada this week more than 50 communities will take part in rallies, vigils, and feasts to honour the more than 600 Indigenous women and girls who have disappeared or been murdered in recent decades.  Families and supporting organizations are calling for justice and action from the Canadian government.

    A march is being held in Vancouver on October 4th starting at Victory Square (Cambie and Hastings) and ending with a ceremony at Oppenheimer Park.  The event is organized by the February 14 Women’s Memorial March committee to demand action on women’s safety, particularly in the Downtown Eastside.

    A march and vigil in Montreal, organized by Missing Justice and 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, begins at 6pm at Cabot Square. And in Toronto, the Native Women’s Resource Centre joins with others for a vigil with handmade lanterns at Allan Gardens from 7-9pm. We will be ending with a ceremony at Oppenheimer Park.

    “This is a cross-country movement that is growing stronger by the day”, says Melanie Morrison, the sister of Tiffany Morrison who disappeared in June 2006 and was found murdered in June 2010. “We won’t stop speaking out. We won’t stop searching for answers. We refuse to let our loved ones be ignored. That is why I am supporting Families of Sisters in Spirit and all these events across Canada.”

    Family members speaking on October 4th at the Ottawa vigil include Bridget Tolley, Laurie Odjick, Pam and Fred Fillier, Sue Martin, and Beverley Jacobs.

    The Ottawa event is organized by Families of Sisters in Spirit, with support from Amnesty International, KAIROS, the Canadian Labour Congress, Minwaashin Lodge, AIDS Committee of Ottawa and others.  A joint statement in support of the vigils will be released on October 4, 2011.

    The time for justice and action is now.

    Beth Berton-Hunter,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    416-363-9933, ext. 332