TORONTO – From Monday, September 29 to Saturday, October 4th, the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT) will introduce weeklong educational events to raise awareness for missing and murdered, and the trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls. Toronto’s Sisters in Spirit Week honours the lives of Murdered and Missing Indigenous women and girls (MMIW) within the Toronto community and across Turtle Island. These events have been tailored to promote advocacy and awareness, build education initiatives and support the families of those who have experienced gendered and racialized violence.
Monday’s event will focus on Understanding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women through an arts workshop, run by the Red Pepper Spectacle Arts group from 10am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4pm at 191 Gerrard Street East. On Tuesday, educational flyers about MMIW and the trafficking of native women will be distributed to the public from 11:30am to 2pm.
On Wednesday, a sweetgrass ceremony will be conducted at the NWRCT to support the families affected by MMIW at 1:30pm. On Thursday from 5 to 7pm, the NWRCT will be hosting a Presentation and Teach-in: “Dispelling Stereotypes about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” This presentation and teach-in hopes to uncover and break through stereotypes about native women and youth. On Friday, people are encouraged to do outreach and awareness through their social media as the day has been deemed as a Social Media Campaign Day to raise awareness about Sisters in Spirit and MMIW. Amnesty International Canada will facilitate letter writing to Justice Minister Peter McKay on this day. People are also encouraged to follow NWRCT on Facebook and Twitter.
On Saturday October 4th vigils to honour the lives of MMIW will take place across Turtle Island. In Toronto, the vigil will take place in Allen Gardens at 6:30pm. The goal of this vigil is to honour the lives of MMIW, support the grieving families and provide opportunities for healing, empower the community to learn about violence prevention, raise awareness about the experiences of Aboriginal women and girls from our local communities, and advocate for social change to end this intolerable situation.
The violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls in Canada is a national tragedy and should no longer be ignored. It is important to acknowledge families who have inspired the SIS movement and who are the reason we all continue to honour the memories of our ‘Stolen Sisters’.
A vigil will also be taking place on Friday, October 3rd, 2014 in Hagersville at 5:30pm, at King and Main Street. Following the vigil, speakers, singers, and community members will gather at New Credit Community Hall, 659 New Credit Road. Another local event is taking place this Saturday. The Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services will be hosting their 3rd Annual Community Walk Against Community Violence-now, Walk4Change6NAY, starting at 10:30am.