The 11th Annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be held on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018. This is an inclusive family event. We welcome people of all ages, genders, cultures, and physical abilities to gather in front of the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse, 426 Queen St. East, from 12:00 – 1:00pm for an open memorial event that will include speeches, songs, prayers, and other expressions of solidarity. We will then march along Queen Street to The Summit, 302 Queen Street East, where lunch will be provided. A sharing circle, facilitated by Elder Dorothy Elie, will facilitate the sharing of personal stories. Information will also be provided for those experiencing violence directly or indirectly.
The Memorial March originated 27 years ago, on February 14, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The march calls attention to the disproportionately high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
In the week leading up to the event, we will tie ribbons on trees in downtown Sault Ste Marie, of four different colours that represent the four cardinal directions, reminding us of Anishinaabe teachings about the interconnectedness amongst different peoples, beings, stages of life, and medicines. We will also hang red dresses, following the Red Dress Campaign, which is aimed at remembering, honouring, and grieving those who have passed on or who have gone missing, as well as our quest for answers and an end to this violence. This march is a time to stand in solidarity with the families whose loved ones have gone missing and been murdered across Canada and beyond.
According to the RCMP’s 2015 updated report Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, 1,017 Indigenous women have been murdered over the past 30 years. There are 174 Indigenous women who were missing, and 111 of those cases were under suspicious circumstances yet remain unsolved. Statistics Canada (2011) reported rates of violence against Indigenous women is three times higher than for non-Indigenous women, and seven times higher for homicide rates. The RCMP states these databases are incomplete and need more regular updating.
This is a memorial march. People are invited to wear red, or regalia. The Memorial March organizers stand in solidarity with all who have been affected by this issue. We also call on our brothers, sisters, and supporters across the globe to make the sacredness of the lives of Indigenous women, girls, LGBT2S, boys, and men a priority.
Come out to show your love and demand concrete action from all levels of government to eliminate systemic violence!
Gendered and colonial violence implicates all of us who live on Indigenous land and territories. Let us walk to honour those who are missing and murdered, and say that today, this violence must stop, starting with us.
There will be seats available for Elders at the site in front of the Courthouse. The site and the Summit are wheelchair accessible. Please dress for the weather.