This year’s Women’s Memorial March will start at the Comox Valley Art Gallery on Feb. 14, dovetailing with the closing ceremony for the Gallery’s installation “Noojim Owin/The Gift of the Healing Dance”.
The event begins at 11:30 a.m. on the CVAG plaza at the corner of 6th and Duncan in downtown Courtenay. There will be remarks and performances, followed by a walk to Simms Park.
“Both the memorial march and the ‘Noojim Owin’ installation are about honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and they are also about honouring community resilience in the face of deadly violence,” said event organizer Kristy Bell.
The Women’s Memorial March first began in Vancouver in 1992, in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman in the downtown eastside.
“Thirty years later, this march has become a nationwide event to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” said Bell.
She said Courtenay’s first march started eight years ago to honour the life of Selina Wallace.
“Since then, we have continued to not only honour Selina but the many women, girls, 2-spirit and LGBTQ people we’ve lost in our communities due to gender- based violence, poverty, racism and colonialism,” said Bell.
The march will begin at the CVAG plaza with several speakers including JoAnn Restoule, one of the key organizers of the “Noojim Owin” installation.
The installation features 11 dresses created by local women. Several of the women will wear their dresses at the event. They will also lead the march to Simms Park, where there will be drumming and refreshments.
People can view the “Noojim Owin” installation at CVAG from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. The Gallery will also be open for special hours on Monday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event will follow public health guideline and organizers ask everyone attending to be vaccinated, maintain social distancing, and wear masks.
For further information about the march, please email Indigenouswomenssharingsociety@gmail.com. For more information about the “Noojim Owin” installation, please visit www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com