An event to honour the lives and memories of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls will be held in Keremeos on November 21.
The event coincides with National Aboriginal Addictions Awareness Week (NAAAW) and is being organized by the Okanagan Nation Transition Emergency House (ONTEH) along with the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, and the Okanagan Nation Alliance.
“The violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls in Canada is a national tragedy” said Leslie Fabriz, one of the coordinators of this year’s event. “To date, there are over 1,200 missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls in this country.”
The event starts at 5:30 p.m. starting with a dinner, followed by speakers and entertainment at Victory Hall (427-7th St.) At 6:30 p.m. a memorial walk will take place at Memorial Park near Victory Hall.
The event was added to NAAAW week due to the cancellation of last month’s Sisters In Spirit event. NAAAW week, which takes place every November, is a national movement that tries to dispel the stigma around addictions.
Family members, Indigenous community members, and concerned citizens gather every November to create meaningful partnerships with others committed to addressing stigma around addictions and recovery.
“We have seen the correlations between addictions and violence in our communities” said Darryl-Jean Cerenzie, coordinator of the YES (You, Empowered, Strong) Project with Okanagan Nation Alliance. “We need to start addressing this correlation, and finding solutions
to decrease the instances of violence within our communities.”
“The number of missing and murdered women is disproportionate within Canadian society as a whole, Indigenous women are significantly overrepresented as victims of homicide,” added Fabriz. “Their loss is felt in every Indigenous community from coast to coast. Those left behind spend a lifetime wondering what happened, and why. We are honouring not only the memories of the missing women and girls, but we also honour their family members who have been left behind.”
All are welcome to attend and should dress for the weather.
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