Each year, family members, Indigenous community members, and concerned citizens gather for a vigil on October 4 to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Vigils take place in many communities across Canada as well as internationally. These gatherings assist in raising awareness and providing support to families who have lost a loved one. These vigils, honouring Canada’s Stolen Sisters, have raised awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls for over 15 years.
OSSTF/FEESO, has been a long-time supporter of the vigils. The October 4 Sisters in Spirit Vigils are a growing movement for social change. In June 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issues its final report, including 231 Calls for Justice. The federal government committed to creating a national Action Plan by June 2020 to transform the Calls for Justice into concrete actions, but has delayed creation of the plan.
This year, because of the pandemic, honouring the Stolen Sisters will be quite different. Some communities may hold outdoor, socially distanced vigils. Other communities may organize a virtual vigil and there may even be communities who choose not to organize a vigil. Whether or not a vigil is held in your community, OSSTF/FEESO is encouraging all members to take action on October 4 to end violence against First Nations, Métis and Inuit women, girls and two-spirit people. Please remember that if you are holding or attending a live event to make sure that you maintain safe physical distancing and keep gatherings small, respecting your local health recommendations.
Typically, activists within the Indigenous community organize Sisters in Spirit vigils. The Native Women’s Association of Canada has created a vigil registration form and will publish an online list of vigils. Please contact organizers of previously organized vigils in your community to determine if an in person or virtual vigil is organized for this year. The Native Women’s Association of Canada is organizing a virtual vigil on Sunday, October 4 from 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. EST. The vigil will be live-streamed on Facebook.
For more information, contact Tracey Marshall.