Okanagan Indian Band elder Virginia Gregoire (centre), supported by her granddaughter Lacey Gregoire, right, and Glenda Louis, opens the Red Dress campaign with a prayer Wednesday morning at Vernon’s Justice Park. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Missing and murdered Indigenous women remembered at Okanagan rally

Red Dress campaign honours the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada

Bernie Williams wanted the crowd of 50 gathered at Vernon’s Justice Park Wednesday morning to feel uncomfortable.

And it wasn’t because of the hot, sunny weather.

Williams, an advocate from the Downtown Eastside Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), was the special speaker at a Red Dress Campaign, hosted by the Okanagan Indian Band. The campaign is to honour and remember the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls across Canada, which include a trio from the North Okanagan.

See: $10,000 reward offered for information on missing Shuswap woman

“I have a saying: ‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,’” said Williams. “These women’s lives matter.”

The red dress is used to symbolize the missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The event was opened by a prayer from Okanagan band elder Virginia Gregoire, followed by the singing and drumming of a traditional Okanagan song.

After two hours at Justice Park, the campaign moved to Komasket Park on Westside Road for an afternoon that included workshops on self defence and healthy relationships.

The afternoon session was scheduled to finish with a community meal and a screening of the 2017 film River of Silence, shot near Merritt, about a First Nations woman who sets out to find answers about her murdered daughter.

The chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), Marion Buller, told a recent Kamloops audience that the final report into the inquiry will now allow governments and private-sector organizations to begin strategizing how to address the report’s 231 recommendations.

See: Missing women’s inquiry leaders reconcile Canada Day with ‘genocide’ findings

Buller said the report “cited the significant, persistent and deliberate pattern of systemic human rights and Indigenous-rights violations and abuses as the cause of the disappearances, murders and violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls.”

The report said the violence constituted genocide by the state against Indigenous people.

With files from Kamloops This Week



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women advocate Bernie Williams was the guest speaker at the Okanagan Indian Band’s Red Dress campaign in memory of the missing and murderer women and girls Wednesday morning at Vernon’s Justice Park. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Just Posted

Traffic slows down after pedestrian struck on Richter, Harvey

The incident occurred around 1:04 p.m. on June 4

Kamloops holds Black Lives Matter rally despite cancellation of protest

Organizers announced cancellation of the event after receiving criticism on social media

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Mundle transferred to Southeast District

Supt. Brent Mundle spent three and a half years as the commander of the Kelowna detachment

Kelowna mayor issues statement on Black Lives Matter rally

The rally is scheduled for June 5 at Kelowna’s Stuart Park

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Undisclosed video evidence comes to light in West Kelowna murder trial

‘They’ve disclosed hundreds of pieces of evidence. Why would this have gotten missed?’ - defence lawyer

Vernon Walmart staffer finds $7K lost by Enderby business owner

Entrepreneur elated after Walmart worker, who lost his own business to COVID, returned lost deposit

Summerland council to continue online meetings

Virtual meetings remain to comply with COVID-19 restrictions

Penticton RCMP arrest man found ‘unlawfully in home’

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them

Shuswap man hosting concert in his driveway

Lamenting the loss of Music in the Park events due to COVID-19, Shane McMahon is putting on a show

Refugee family assists former hosts in effort to stop rising water of Shuswap Lake

Alahmad family spend morning filling sandbags to help protect residences

Summerland not considering allowing alcohol in public spaces

Penticton and North Vancouver have both passed bylaws to relax alcohol consumption rules

Most Read