Ottawa march highlights plight of Indigenous women in North America

Thirty-one years after it was first held, a march held to highlight the murder of an Indigenous woman in Vancouver has grown into a continent-wide phenomenon, with similar marches held across Canada and the United States every year on February 14.

The most recent Women's Memorial March was held last week in a number of cities across Canada, with federal leaders weighing in on this most recent march and its importance.

That importance become all the more prominent after the recent arrest of an alleged serial killer who preyed on Indigenous women in Manitoba.

Ministers responsible for supporting Indigenous people came together to issue a statement marking the occasion.

‘Out of a sense of hopelessness, their goal was to provide a space for families, survivors, communities and allies to gather, heal and commemorate Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people whose lives were ended by violence,’ federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Marc Miller, Indigenous Services minister Patty Hajdu and Northern Affairs minister Daniel Vandal said. ‘This annual march welcomes everyone in Canada to walk alongside survivors, families and community members, as they honour the memory and spirit of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people. It is also a chance to reflect on the systemic violence, the traumatic effects felt by their loved ones, and most importantly, the role we all have as Canadians to end this crisis.’

The ministers said they would continue to consider the plight faced by Indigenous women the Indigenous LGBTQ population.

‘Today and every day, we hold in our hearts and minds the Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people who were taken too soon from their families and communities. We stand in solidarity with those who march today, and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors, families, communities, organizations, and leadership who have shown their unwavering dedication to honour their loved ones and advocate for safer communities across Canada.’

Concurrent Canadian marches were held in Winnipeg and Lethbridge in addition to the anchor march in Vancouver, while a number of marches were also held in the United States.

The ministers urged Canadians to take action and

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase