First Nations members hang red dresses in missing, murdered women vigil near Lake Country

Members of the Okanagan Indian Band honour the memory of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls at Tuesday event

Carol Chalifoux takes part in the Sisters in Spirit vigil on the Okanagan Indian Reserve Tuesday.

Statistics often strip Canada’s murdered and missing aboriginal women of their identities.

An RCMP report indicates there have been about 1,200 women and girls go missing or killed nationally over 30 years, and while the figure may actually be higher, advocates insist the focus must be on the loss of individual lives.

“These women were daughters, mothers and aunts,” said Coola Louis, an Okanagan Indian Band councillor during the Sisters in Spirit vigil Tuesday.

“These women had places in our hearts. They were beautiful women capable of doing beautiful things.”

The Sisters in Spirit National Day of Vigils was part of the See Me, Hear Me, Remember Me Red Dress campaign, with red dresses symbolizing the victims of violence.

“There is greater strength in unity and we’re coming together,” said Glen Louis, one of the organizers.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada says that between 2000 and 2008, aboriginal women and girls represented 10 per cent of all female homicides in Canada but they only make up three per cent of the country’s female population.

“It’s going to take all of us collectively to address this national shame,” said Coola Louis.

For Coun. Allan Louis, action must occur among the younger generations.

“We need to educate our girls and boys about the seriousness of these crimes to our sisters,” he said.

For Joan Vedan, she continues to struggle with the pain caused by her mother’s murder in Vancouver in 1988.

“I wish I could have told her how much I needed her,” said Vedan, who was 18 at the time.

“I hope the government will take care of this issue because it’s a crisis.”

As part of the vigil, red dresses were hung on a fence along Westside Road.

“It’s not just one day that we remember. We remember every day,” said Glenda Louis.

Just Posted

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

New Lake Country arts council to request funds from district

The arts council will ask the district for $8,000 from 2019 to 2021

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read