Agassiz vigil to remember missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil will be taking place on Oct. 4 at the Agassiz United Church

On Oct. 4, a moment of silence will be held in the Agassiz United Church for the more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada.

For the last six years, the Agassiz Social Justice Committee has participated in the Canada-wide Sisters in Spirit project. Organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the vigils are meant to help raise awareness about the systemic violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.

“I passionately feel that it’s not just an Aboriginal problem,” Betty Rajotte, social justice committee member, said. “These thousands of women that have been murdered and missing all across Canada … it’s a Canadian tragedy and it has to be addressed by all of us with our attitudes and our treatment of one another.

“It’s all the same family.”

RELATED: Standing in solidarity: The Sisters in Spirit Vigil

Each year, the vigils are held at the Agassiz United Church and are open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

In years past, the events have opened with a speech or prayer by a First Nation representative, and are followed by a recognition of those who have gone missing or been murdered.

Often this recognition is done by writing their name on a heart, and placing it on a bulletin board at the front of the room, “just to draw attention to each particular person,” Rajotte said.

The vigil also includes a candle lighting ceremony, as well as a moment of silence for those who have been lost.

Before the Canadian government undertook an independent national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the vigils also included a petition to ask the federal government to look into the issue.

In June of this year, a 1,200 page report, including 231 calls for justice, was finally completed.

RELATED: All Canadians have a role to play in ending MMIW ‘genocide,’ report says

Among the findings: that Canada’s treatment of those women amounts to genocide.

The recommendations in the report include calls to action, such as developing a national action plan to address violence against Indigenous women, protecting the rights of Indigenous culture, establishing crisis teams in Indigenous communities and provide safe and affordable transit for people living in remote or rural communities.

(This last point is particularly important for British Columbians, as many missing or murdered women were last seen on Highway 16 in central B.C., often known as the Highway of Tears.)

“We’re hoping that the recommendations will be followed, and that change will come,” Rajotte said.

“We work for change.”

RELATED: Missing and Murdered of Canada honoured at Agassiz Sisters in Spirit vigil

At the Oct. 4 event, although looking towards future change is a part, the goal will be to provide an opportunity to reflect on what has happened across the country.

“One year, a person came that we didn’t know. She came up and talked about her loved one that had been lost,” Rajottee remembered.

“It was just so moving. It had us in tears.”

This year’s vigil will take place on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Agassiz United Church (6860 Lougheed Hwy.)

Everyone is welcome to participate.

“The whole community is invited to take part in this important event,” Rajotte said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

PET CARE: Pets part of domestic violence link

During Purple Light Nights against domestic violence, columnist Nicolette Joosting talks about pets

Control of Parliament could rest on a handful of ridings – including Agassiz and Harrison’s

UFV political science professor says Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon result could play key role

Drivers warn of slippery conditions on the Coquihalla

Snow is falling at the Summit of the Coquihalla

Three-hour parking coming to Agassiz’s Pioneer Avenue

The three-hour parking spots will be along Pioneer Park in the downtown area

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

VIDEO: Agassiz lights candles in memory of missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil took place at the Agassiz United Church

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Kamloops Blazers blank Vancouver Giants

A loss on the road for G-men

Man found dead inside Richmond business, IHIT investigating

Police believe the incident was not random

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read