APTN National News
Annual marches in memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women took place across the country on Valentine’s Day.
While most communities may have a few hundred come together, at Vancouver’s walk thousands of people showed up.
The Vancouver MMIW is in its 27th year.
“We come here ‘cause we’re looking for healing and meaning,” said film maker Jessica Woods. “We’re here because this is the only time that women in the downtown east side get to take up space safely.”
Many of the attendees understand the pain of losing a loved one. Antone Sut-lut walked for her daughter who was murdered 24 years ago.
“I’ve been waiting 24 years for justice and I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime,” said Sut-lut.
She also worries about Indigenous men and boys who are targeted for violence and said something needs to be done about the issue as a whole.
“Two males were found … their DNA on the Robert Pickton farm. We need to acknowledge them and make an all-inclusive inquiry with every province represented. Not just the five women way over there in Ottawa. We need equal representation in each province,” said Sut-lut. “We need officers who are connected to sexual assault and harassment or racist acts. They need to be charged, named and then faired. This is the only way to an honoured inquiry.”
Marchers said that what’s needed is more affordable housing, treatment centres, better policing and the restoration of funding of Aboriginal organizations that offer community programs and services.
Organizers of the event are hoping that the large numbers will help to bridge the gap between the federal government’s national inquiry and advocacy groups.