Singers at the Sisters in Spirit event sing a song before hosting a moment of silence on Oct. 4 evening. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

Sisters in Spirit in Hope remembers missing and murdered Aboriginal women

The event was held Oct. 4 in Memorial Park.

Women came together to celebrate the Sisters in Spirit event on Oct. 4 at the bandstand in Memorial Park.

The event intends to raise awareness of the families involved in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) inquiry.

“The families in the inquiry are feeling … left out into the inquiry and this is to raise that awareness that there are problems in the inquiry and it needs to stop in its tracks now before it just keeps going and it snowballs,” said co-organizer Margaret Peters.

Peters explained that some family members aren’t being asked to share their stories and she feels that it’s important that these families share what they know and what they went through after a loved one goes missing or gets murdered.

“It was a failed inquiry … in all that time because it just concentrated on (serial killer Robert) Pickton, it took all that time away from the other families that they weren’t Pickton victims,” said Peters. “They need more time because two years is not enough to look at this whole picture. Look at how many there are missing, look at how many murdered.”

Asked whether anybody from Hope and area have gone missing, Peters said she has heard of one person, although could not elaborate because she does not have permission.

Peters explained that families involved in the MMIWG inquiry would ideally like to have more time, more funding and have certain commissioners removed from the inquiry.

Sisters in Spirit is a nationwide initiative with a goal to “conduct research and raise awareness of the alarming high rates of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada,” according to their website. For Peters, that message resonates to her on a personal level.

“They also talk about the racism and just how some of the First Nations women are treated by RCMP, by society as well,” said Peters. “I can identify with that.”

The event started at 5 p.m. where speakers presented the background of the event and explained about the MMIWG inquiry. Afterwards, participants were asked to share their stories. The event ended with a moment of silence.

While this was happening, Indian Residential School Survivors Society resolution health support worker Sadie McPhee went around cleansing participants. By burning sage and brushing people’s body with a feather, McPhee explained that it helps cleanse auras and the spirit.

“What we’re doing today is taking away all the heaviness because of all the sadness and everything, so we smudge them so that when we go home, they’ll feel a lot better,” said McPhee.

McPhee said an event like this brings all the families together to an event that is often only held in Vancouver, which many people cannot attend.

“We have so many of our women around this area that haven’t been taken care of,” said McPhee. “They haven’t been acknowledged, so doing this here, in our home is helping our families to let the hurt and pain go.”

Just Posted

U-Save property owner files six lawsuits against District of Hope

One of the lawsuits demands $6,200 to undo the work done on the roundhouse.

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

Husband pleads guilty in relation to 2009 killing of Kulwinder Gill

Abbotsford woman died in hit-and-run conspiracy

Raymond Lee Caissie gets life in prison for murdering Surrey teen in 2014

Judge numbers Caissie among ‘violent merciless men without a conscience’

Area A, B lose power, wireless service due to winds

BC Hydro and TELUS are working to restore service.

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

5 to start your day

Sentencing in murder of Surrey teen expected, Maple Ridge mayor to step away from politics and more

Most Read