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Never to be forgotten vigil held in Hagersville

HAGERSVILLE – Many people gathered to mark the fourth annual “Never to be forgotten vigil” held at Hagersville and Mississaugas of New Credit territory on Saturday. The support from Hagersville was quite evident as many of the pedestrians and drivers who saw the protest honked, gave a thumbs up, and asked questions about the reasons

HAGERSVILLE – Many people gathered to mark the fourth annual “Never to be forgotten vigil” held at Hagersville and Mississaugas of New Credit territory on Saturday. The support from Hagersville was quite evident as many of the pedestrians and drivers who saw the protest honked, gave a thumbs up, and asked questions about the reasons for the vigil.

The event had signs with 1200 faceless dolls attached to them representing the 1200 missing and murdered women of Turtle Island. The faceless dolls project and vigil has had many contributors – not just from local territories but people and groups like the Hamilton chapter of Sisters in Spirit and Haldimand-Norfolk Women’s Services.

The vigil moved to the Mississaugas of the New Credit community hall with an opening prayer from Cam Staats at the ceremonial fire. EdebwedOgichidaa-Val King talked about how the fire represented our spirits and suggested that everyone offer tobacco to the fire for the missing and murdered and their families.

The ceremony concluded and everyone gathered inside the community hall to listen to the various speakers. Wonda Jamieson spoke about the murder of her mother. “I couldn’t deal with or speak about it until 6 years after it happened in 2008. Nobody asks for this.” Wonda has named her daughter Cynthia after her mother and has recently been studying at McMaster University where she is working towards a degree in Social Work.

Gowehgyuseh (Beverly Jacobs) who started Sisters in Spirit in 2005 during her work at the Native Women’s Association of Canada spoke at the vigil. “Our Haudenosaunee traditional ways has shown us how to be kind and take care of each other. When colonialism came upon us we lost that and now we trying to bring it back. I am a survivor of violence and molestation within my own home. I know what it feels like not to feel safe within my own home and community. As a lawyer it seems that courts look after the offenders rights more than the victims and the crown attorney isn’t the victims lawyer.

Look at the history of colonial law; it wasn’t against the law to beat or rape a woman. In 2008 our community lost two people when Tashina General was murdered while being pregnant. Tashina was family, her death made me angry and by 2009 I experienced too much trauma to continue on, but the movement has grown thanks to the grass roots people.”

Lynn Laforme, whose sister passed on, made a powerful statement in regards to the entire issue of missing and murdered women that summed up the feelings of the gathering. “We are not going to stop till this stops.”

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