Over 50 people gathered the evening of July 23rd, at Montreal’s Independent Media Centre, for the screening of two films, Finding Dawn, and Stolen Sisters. They also came to hear the words of two women, whose stories brought the films to life. Bridget Tolley, a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation in Quebec whose mother was struck and killed by the Quebec Police on October 6th, 2001, and Sue Martin, whose daughter, Terrie Ann Dauphinais was murdered in 2002.
Finding Dawn tells the story of Dawn Crey, Ramona Wilson, Daleen Kay Bosse, three of the estimated 500 Aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada over the past thirty years.
From Vancouver’s skid row, where more than 60 women are missing, we travel to the “Highway of Tears” in northern British Columbia, and onward to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of Native women remain unresolved. Finding Dawn illustrates the deep historical, social and economic factors that contribute to the epidemic of violence against Native women in this country. It goes further to present the ultimate message that stopping the violence is everyone’s responsibility.
In the 2005 report by Amnesty International entitled, “Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada,” Amnesty International charges that Canada is putting Indigenous women in danger of kidnapping and violent deaths through racism and indifference.
“When is it going to stop?” Asked Sue Martin, after the films were finished. Bridget and Sue spoke of the police impunity, media neglect and isolation that they have felt as a result of fighting for justice on behalf of their murdered loved onces. They also talked about the empowerment they have felt when families of missing women come together to share their experiences and support one another. They spoke of the need for education, and the difficulty and necessity of sharing stories.
“My story will be told. My Mom’s story will be told.” Said Bridget Tolley.
Both Bridget and Sue encouraged everyone to attend the annual Sisters in Spirit vigil on October fourth, to honour lost sisters and their families, and to pressure governments to act.