The Second Annual Never to be Forgotten Rally was held Monday evening in Hagersville. About 50 people gathered peacefully at the stoplights on Main Street and held signs, and sang traditional songs, and shed tears in solidarity with the October 4th “Sisters In Spirit” vigils being held across the country.
Men, women, and children from the indigenous community, as well as allies gathered together at the Country Style at New Credit Plaza afterward for guest speakers who shared their stories. Lacey Hill came to sing for the crowd the help ease the grief and drummers sang as well to help release healing for the people.
One speaker was there to represent her sister Elaine, who was killed January 22, 2012. She addressed the crowd saying, “This man has taken everything from me and my family…everyday I miss her laugh, her smart remarks, I miss her in general.” Shelley Joseph was remembered by her sister in a poem. She simply said, “my sister was taken from us, live in my heart for a day. Feel what I feel, live what I live.” Andrea Greyeyes from the Muskee Lake Cree Nation came out to remember her cousin Karina Wolfe who has been missing since 2010.
Organizer Val King shared that although the statistic of 700 missing and murdered women is used, this statistic is confirmed cases from one study which was short-lived. She says through her academic studies she discovered there are closer to 3000 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women in North America. Val says, “When you think of the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and girls, say a prayer for healing for them and their grieving families or light a candle in honor of them for they are Women warriors that should never be forgotten.”
The Native Women’s Association of Canada has put out a Call to Action statement on their website. They encourage people to write letters to the Prime Minister and local government officials demanding action and justice for the grieved families. The cry for a public inquiry into these cases is also being heard across the nation. People are encouraged to get involved and sign a petition from the Native Women’s Association of Canada and send it to parliament pressing for an inquiry. For more information visit their website at www.nwac.ca.
Featured image: Supporters at the Second Annual Never to be Forgotten Rally gathered in Hagersville on Monday. Drivers were also honking to show their support.(Photo by Nahnda Garlow)