Students, faculty and staff, as well as community members will gather at the North Island College campus in Courtenay on Oct. 4 to honour the lives of missing aboriginal women and girls across Canada.
These gatherings, known as the Sisters In Spirit Vigils, raise awareness about the more than 500 missing aboriginal women and girls, and call on the government to launch a national inquiry to investigate.
“This is a shameful part of Canada’s past that continues into the present,” said Jacelyn Lobay, student representative of the North Island Students’ Union, Local 72 of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We are coming together to call for justice for the families of the missing women, and equal protection from law-enforcement agencies, regardless of ethnicity.”
In the past 30 years, over 500 aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered; many of the cases remain unsolved.
Today, more than 100 events are being held in communities across Canada to mark the seventh annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil.
Information about the national event and the organizations supporting the Sisters in Spirit initiative can be found at www.nwac.ca/programs/2012-joint-statement as well as a joint statement, written by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), Amnesty International Canada, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), and Canadian Federation of Students.
“It is our hope that these vigils will achieve government action, that an investigation can bring the perpetrators to justice, so all women and girls can live in a safe community” said Savannah McKenzie, student representative of the North Island Students’ Union. “We will continue to raise our voices until there is change.”
The North Island Students’ Union represents over 4,000 students at North Island College.
— North Island Students’ Union