The Timmins Native Friendship Centre is hosting several in-person and virtual activities this week in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), two-spirit and gender-diverse people.
Oct. 4 marked the National Day of Action for MMIWG. Sisters in Spirit vigils are also typically held across the country for it.
Jaylin Renaud, the friendship centre’s aboriginal healing and wellness co-ordinator, said they felt it was beneficial to set aside a variety of programming for the entire week.
“We know not everybody can always attend on a specific day. We want to include as much programming as we could to encourage healing, justice and reconciliation as well as bringing awareness and educating our community,” she said.
The centre will be hosting a candlelight vigil on Thursday, Oct. 7. It starts at 10 a.m.
People can pick up a red candle, which they can light on their own time or during Thursday’s vigil.
The centre’s staff will be available to provide support.
“The vigil is being held to honour the lives and legacies (of MMIWG),” Renaud said. “We need to continue having those conversations to build a foundation for healing.”
The centre had a sacred fire Monday.
Tuesday, Oct. 5, three awareness videos throughout the day on its Facebook page.
A Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin co-ordinator Pierre Belec and cultural resource co-ordinator Nathan Naveau will be doing a presentation on the Seven Grandfather Teachings on respect and bravery Wednesday, Oct. 6.
The event will be presented to the students at the friendship centre. The presentation will be recorded and posted on the centre’s Facebook page.
The activities will conclude with a sacred fire from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8. There will also be coffee, tea and snacks.
Throughout the week, people can also stop by and sign the canvass the centre has hung up.
Renaud encouraged people to take the time to honour and remember the lives and legacies of MMIWG and educate themselves.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see our community come together: our community members, our partners, just people passing by and looking at the canvass we hang up again this year,” Renaud said. “If anybody has any questions or requires support, they can reach out to me. And if I’m unable to assist, depending on the request, we’ll find the appropriate service whether at the friendship centre or externally.”
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com