LETHBRIDGE -- Almost 200 members of the Indigenous community and local supporters gathered outside Lethbridge City Hall on Thursday (Oct 4th) evening to participate in the 12th annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil. Those who gathered undertook a solemn march, west along 4th Avenue and then north to Galt Gardens, flanked by members of a city police detail.
As the group arrived at Galt Gardens, they passed by and under trees and pillars adorned with red dresses and other women’s garments, representing the women who would have worn them.
In the garden’s gathering area, there were dozens of blankets and posters covered with 2000 small faceless dolls. Each one represented a missing or murdered indigenous woman or girl.
There were also posters – too many to count – that held photos and told the stories of the many missing. Family members also held posters of missing loved ones.
The group that gathered in Galt Gardens was not alone, as hundreds of similar vigils were held in communities across the country, to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).
The October 4 Sisters in Spirit (SIS) vigils began in 2006 to raise awareness and provide support to families who have lost loved ones: sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and friends. The vigils have grown in number from eleven in 2006 to over 200 in 2018.
With each yearly event, societal acknowledgement of the crisis has grown. However, while awareness has increased, the number of missing continues to climb. Roughly 124 names have been added to the list of MMIWG since November of 2015.
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