It is estimated that more than 500 aboriginal women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada over the past several decades.
Many of the women are from this province, including the Fraser Valley. About half of the cases haven’t been solved and the mystery of Highway of Tears, along with the horrors of the Pickton farm, still seem to baffle the RCMP.
But groups like Amnesty International and the Native Women’s Association of Canada are committed to ending the violence against First Nation women, who are statistically over eight times more likely to be killed by their intimate partners than non-Aboriginal women.
Now, the Agassiz United Church has joined forces in the movement to bring awareness to the issue. On Oct. 4, the church will be holding a vigil in support of the Stolen Sisters movement.
“This is not a new thing,” said Debbie Hansen, who is organizing the vigil for the church. She said the Stolo Nation is holding a private vigil, and the church wanted to do something for the public to attend.
Her daughter works for Amnesty International, and brought up the idea of having a public vigil.
And the reasons for getting behind the Stolen Sisters are numerous for Hansen.
“For me, it’s hugely important,” she said. “And number one is as a women, because we are all vulnerable. I would like to be able to go out and walk at night and not worry. I wish our world wasn’t that way but it is.”
She also wants to do something to honour her daughter, and her brother in law who is First Nations.
Finally, she said, it would be one way the church can help repair relationships in the community, as generations of First Nations were affected by residential schools.
“It’s coming from all those levels,” she said.
It also goes along with the social justice film nights the church hosts several times a year, she added.
The vigil will begin at 11 a.m. on Oct. 4 at Agassiz United Church.