The Ojibway Women’s Lodge is hosting a candlelight vigil this evening at 6:30 to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.
October 4 is a day to remember, and “we remember those who are missing, and we give prayer to the families and loved ones” for those yet to return home, said Brooklyn Penasse, of the Ojibway Women’s Lodge.
She mentioned the lodge has been hosting the event for several years now, which is sponsored by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).
The NWAC held their vigil on-line this afternoon at 2 p.m. to “support grieving families and create opportunities for healing.”
“The violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people in Canada is a genocide,” they explain on their website, “and we will demand action on an issue that impacts us all.”
A report from Amnesty International this past January cited an RCMP estimate that between 1980 and 2012, 1,017 Indigenous women and girls were murdered.
This homicide rate is roughly 4.5 times higher than that of all other women in Canada, the report explains.
The violence continues. The NWAC has reported that Indigenous women “remained a risk factor for violent victimization” and Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ individuals “also experience a high rate of physical and sexual violence.”
“We hope that our candle vigil will bring awareness about the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people,” Penasse said.
“It is important to continue to raise awareness of this issue because the number of missing and murdered Indigenous Women, girls and gender diverse people continue to rise,” she added.
The Ojibway Women’s Lodge is located at 131 Commanda Crescent, North Bay. All are welcome to attend the vigil, and are encouraged to dress warmly, and if possible, wear something red.
“Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people deserve safety and justice,” Penasse said.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca