Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Memorial March
How is everyone doing? Well this weekend is for most people Valentine’s day weekend! A weekend to be with your valentine and the ones you love. And it is for me too but I am choosing to spend this weekend giving some love to those who have gone in the spirit world and had their earth time stolen from them. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. To learn more, read my two previous articles here and here.
If you live in Canada, you must have heard about this issue, with a national inquiry put in place to investigate the disappearance of over 1200 Indigenous women. “Issue” does not even seem like the right word. A tragedy, a huge injustice and a cause that we ALL need to know about is more like it. So this weekend is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Memorial March. It is taking place in a few cities in Canada, including in Vancouver, a block away from my office. In a neighborhood known as the “downtown eastside (DTES)”, the “Skidrow” of Canada. A place I can honestly say I feel very comfortable in, as weird as it might seem. I talk to people on the streets all the time. And each day I am amazed by the humanity of the people down there and the care they show. For me and for others. Don’t get me wrong, I get yelled at every day but I also laugh with clients every day. And have very sweet conversations. So without further ado, let’s talk about this annual march and other projects in place to remember and honor the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).
March in the DTES
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: A follow up intro
honoring the missing and murdered women
Today I want to share a short post about an important topic, which I have broached before and will cover more in depth later. I am struggling beginning this post, knowing how to, because it is an emotional one. One that hits close to home. Missing and Murdered Indigenous women in Canada. We discussed it yesterday in my course and it made me think about the situation more in depth. I also became aware of the organization “Walking with our sisters” honoring and commemorating through art, the missing Aboriginal women. Let’s discuss the topic using a wonderful documentary I just watched.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada
In a previous post, I discussed the missing and murdered women in Canada including the fact that approximately 80% of them are Aboriginal. I included a video of the Women’s warrior song sung in honor of the missing and deceased women (I had the pleasure and honor to sing the song 2 days ago). I just want to add here that the song stands not only for the missing Aboriginal women in Canada but also symbolizes the strength of women. Women are the life carriers and life givers. We carry a strong energy that balances the men’s energy.
I recently came across this article, which warmed my heart. For the first time, an event of this scale is taking place in the USA to honor the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The event: Sing our Rivers Red taking place at North Dakota state university from Feb 9 to Feb 14. On display, you will see women’s jewelry. Beaded earrings are displayed, each missing its other half in honor of the Indigenous women who have gone missing since 1980.
The event aims to increase awareness for all the missing and murdered native women while encouraging bonding within the communities. As one of the organizers said: “These women have been murdered or they’re missing, but they shouldn’t be forgotten. They shouldn’t be ignored, and they should be known”. It warms my heart to hear that, as each of those women has a face, a family, friends and a community. I am including here, a link to see the missing women from the Highway of Tears, the name given to the highway between Prince Rupert and Prince George in British Columbia. It makes it real maybe, but please take a moment to look at their faces.
As I have said many times before, there is such beauty within the Native culture but there is also trauma. Indigenous women are more likely to have been physically or sexually assaulted than any other race and about a third of Native women report having been raped in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The statistics are similar in Canada. Native women are survivors, they are a pillar of strength. Strength that comes from their voices and our voices. We must remember All my Relations, as we are all related and connected. What happens to one of us, happens and affects all of us. We are all sisters and brothers. It saddens me that so many Native women (and men) have passed into the spirit world. However, as the prayer below (a version of the Hopi prayer, a prayer for those grieving) tell us, our relatives and ancestors are around us. They are in the wind, in the sky, in the land. They are there with us to give us. And I find that very reassuring.