WATCH: Hundreds took to the streets of Victoria today for the annual stolen sisters’ march honouring and remembering missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. Among the crowd, families still looking for answers. Kori Sidaway was there.
Hundreds of demonstrators are marching in downtown Victoria to remember missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirited peoples.
“The only thing that they lacked was perhaps that they didn’t look like other people. And I dare not forget them,” said event organizer Christine La Vallee.
Participants started gathering outside of Our Place Society for the 10th annual Stolen Sisters Memorial March at 11 a.m., before making their way down to the B.C. Legislature.
Amid the crowd were many families, still looking for answers.
“A few of our cousins have been found murdered along the Highway of Tears,” said Raven Lacerte.
“So for us, it’s really important to be here to march and show our love and support and to help lift up the other families that have loved ones that have either gone missing or murdered.”
And the younger generation is getting louder. Sixteen-year-old Shauntelle Dick-Charleson stood up to recite her handwritten poem on the many stories behind the Highway of Tears.
She says she’s standing up with rage, for a generation that feels like they couldn’t.
“I was mad that this was still happening. It’s 2019, this shouldn’t be happening,” said Dick-Charleson.
“If they see that the younger generation is speaking up more, they might have more hope, that we’re ready to fight back.”
A federal report found that even though indigenous women only made up four per cent of Canada’s female population, they accounted for 16 per cent of all murdered woman in Canada between 1980 and 2012.
“We are visibly indigenous women, so automatically we are at higher risk of being victims of violence,” said Lacerte.
“So it does hit really close to home. It’s crazy what’s happening to our women and children in this country.”
The report also found there were 1,186 unsolved cases of missing and murdered indigenous women between 1980 and 2012. In November 2013 at least 105 Indigenous women and girls remained missing under suspicious circumstances or for undetermined reasons.
Groups like Amnesty International have called the trend appalling.
The federal government announced earlier this month a new commemoration fund for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S individuals.
And while the $10 million to the Department for Women and Gender Equality will contribute to healing and help increase public awareness, and help honour the victims, many say it’s not enough.
“We should really be getting more RCMP officers to go investigate on all the indigenous women that are missing and murdered,” said Dick-Charleson.