Each year on October 4, family members, Indigenous community members, and concerned citizens gather for a vigil to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Vigils take place in many communities across Canada as well as in other countries. The gatherings help to raise awareness and provide support to families who have lost a loved one. 2018 marks the 13th year of The Sisters in Spirit (SIS) vigils.
OSSTF/FEESO, along with the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour, has been a long-time supporter of the event. The October 4 Sisters in Spirit Vigils are part of a movement for social change, and the number of vigils in Ontario has grown from 11 in 2006 to well over 21 in 2017. The Federation encourages all members to attend their local vigils.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has produced a document to help friends and supporters responsibly address the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). In addition to fact sheets on MMIWG and the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls, the NWAC Community Resource Guide contains useful tools for getting involved and for making your SIS Vigil a success. The guide provides members with the information they need to best deliver the important message of this community-based project. OSSTF/FEESO encourages participation in events planned for October 4. A vigil can take many forms, from a moment of silence to a rally to a community feast. What is important is that you take some time on or around October 4 to mark the day.
After much public outcry for investigation and inquiry, the Government of Canada launched an entirely independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in September 2016. While the inquiry is not complete, the main goal is to ensure and enhance the safety of women and girls. According to the official inquiry website, 1273 testimonies have been provided by family members and survivors who have shared their truths. Additionally, 340 artistic expressions have been shared and 1859 families and survivors have been registered since the inquiry began.
You can sign up for updates from the inquiry here.
For more information, contact Tracey Marshall via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Provincial Office.