When? Thursday, October 4th, 6pm
Where? Parc Emilie Gamelin, corner of Berri and St. Catherine. Metro Berri.
Bridget Tolley founded the March and Vigil in 2005, which happens every year on the anniversary of her mother’s Gladys Tolley’s death. Since then, the march has been organized all across the country on that day. In 2010, 86 marches were held in communities across Canada, the largest number yet, with one march being held as far away as Nicaragua, showing us that the problem of Indigenous women being disproportionately affected by violence is one of colonized Nations worldwide.
The purpose of this event is to honour the memories of missing and murdered women and girls, raise awareness, and demand that the government support the actions of families and communities and restore research funding to Sisters in Spirit (SIS), an initiative of the Native Women’s Association of Canada which was responsible for conducting groundbreaking research between 2004 and 2010 on the now known-of cases. Although their work is far from finished, the government insists that action must take the place of research, and instead of funding the research, community work, and actions of SIS, are instead diverting resources to a generic RCMP-led missing persons database, as well as vastly facilitating police power to obtain warrants and to install wiretaps. Many believe that both of these police privileges will be used to further allow the government of Canada’s criminalization of Native communities rather than increasing the safety of Native women. The United Nations have been deliberating the carrying out of an investigation into Canada’s human rights abuses vis-a-vis this issue since last year but require the government’s participation to do so, something that is not forthcoming.
Approximately 600 Native women have gone missing or have been murdered since roughly 1980 according to the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Other organizations and activists suspect that the actual number is as high as 3000. The reality is that Native women in Canada are at least five times more likely to die of violence than non-Native women. Racist and sexist government policies, stereotypes of Indigenous women, a lack of media attention, and police negligence all contribute to, and indeed perpetuate this violence as well as the general lack of data–also a form of violence in itself. While some media and public attention has been given to cases in Western Canada, Native women in Quebec have also been targeted. For instance, Gladys Tolley, in 2001, an Algonquin woman from Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg was hit and killed by a Sûreté du Québec car. No one was ever held accountable, and all requests for independent investigations have been denied. In June 2010 the remains of Tiffany Morrison, a young Mohawk woman from Kahnawake, were found very close to home, under the Mercier bridge. She had been missing for 4 years. In September 2008 teenage friends Maisy Odjick from Kitigan Zibi and Shannon Alexander from Maniwaki went missing. Their whereabouts remain unknown to this day. The family has received very little information from police, and has had to organize their own search parties.
We will be gathering at 6 pm Parc Emilie Gamelin (metro Berri). We hope you will join us on October 4th. Contact organizers by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to drop us a line at the Centre for Gender Advocacy: 514-937-2110. If you would like promotional materials for this event to give out to friends or co-workers, or would like to help promote this event in other ways, please write to email@example.com, or call the number above.