Montrealers Gathered to Honour the Lives of Missing and Murdered Women on Valentine’s Day

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Source: NewsWire.ca / The Dawn News / February 14, 2018

Photo Credit: The McGill Tribune

This past Valentine’s Day, Montrealers gathered to honour the lives of missing and murdered women. A Community Gathering took place at the Native Friendship Centre which featured a variety of performances and attendees also had the opportunity to share a song, a story, a poem or any other expression to honour those who have been lost.

The event commemorated missing and murdered women of all backgrounds while giving particular focus to Indigenous women and two-spirit people who are the disproportionate targets of gendered and racialized violence.

Yearly commemorations on February 14th have been taking place across the country since 1991 subsequent to the murder of a Coast Salish[1] woman that received very little attention from the media and police.

Carrying red roses for the dead and yellow for the missing, thousands marched through Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to end violence against aboriginal women in Canada. Photo by David P. Ball

While many had hoped that the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls would make strides toward identifying and addressing the causes of these types of crimes, it has become evident that the process is in disarray and excludes important issues such as police conduct — something that Indigenous communities had stated was a key concern.

“An inquiry is important, but it can’t fix hundreds of years of damage caused by colonial violence,” said Dayna Danger, Programming and Campaigns Coordinator with the Centre for Gender Advocacy. “While the inquiry progresses in fits and starts, Indigenous women and two-spirit people continue to suffer. Last summer, two Inuuk women died here in Montreal and the police automatically deemed the deaths to be suicides only to re-open the cases later when additional information came to light. The facts about violence against Indigenous women are well-documented, but police act as though we’re doing it to ourselves.”

This year marks the 9th year that such an event takes place in Montreal. It is organized by Missing Justice, a campaign of the Centre for Gender Advocacy. Organizers hope that the event can serve as a healing space and inspire attendees to work together to undo the harms wrought by colonialism.

 

[1] Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Pacific coast of Turtle Island, North America

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