2013 Joint Statement

October 4th Sisters In Spirit Vigils—A Movement for Social Change
October 4th is a day for honouring and a day for healing. For years, families and communities have called attention to the high numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. In response and in support, NWAC documented nearly 600 ‘known’ cases of this extreme form of violence and published their findings to both educate and promote dialogue. The tracking of these occurrences continues today and we are grateful that many other organizations and individuals continue to raise awareness. Together, we are working towards a common goal to address this injustice. Momentum is building. First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are rising up and embracing their own forms of expression and their own calls for action. One year ago, for example, NWAC launched a petition calling for a National Public Inquiry. Completed forms have arrived each day, filled with signatures as well as messages of solidarity. More than 10,000 signatures have been collected and the petitions will be submitted to the Federal Government on October 18th 2013 as part of a National Day of Action. An inquiry would be a crucial step in implementing a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan. As our organizations have repeatedly urged, such a response is necessary to address the scale and severity of violence faced by Aboriginal women and girls. Together, we must demand action and secure commitments from all levels of government. Today, our words echo a shared message: ‘First Nations, Métis and Inuit women are loved and valued!’ October 4th is dedicated to honouring the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls and support families who have been tragically touched by the loss of a loved one to violence. Vigils take many forms: a rally, a candlelight vigil, a workshop, a moment of silence, a walk, or a gathering of people to share memories and a meal. Together, the October 4th SIS vigils have become a movement for social change and a reminder that our sisters will not be forgotten. In 2012, communities and organizations united to surpass the 100 vigil mark, in total 175 vigils were held across the globe. More than 100 cities and communities are celebrating again on October 4th today in 2013! No other event in Canada brings so many communities and Canadian

To be read nationwide as part of

To add your support to this Joint Statement please contact Sarah MacLean at 1-800-461-4043 ext 251 or smaclean@nwac.ca

citizens together to specifically celebrate, honour and support Aboriginal women and girls. Together, we can demand action on this Canadian human rights issue that impacts us all. We are calling on all levels of government to work with Aboriginal women and representative organizations, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada who is a leader in this field of research and advocacy. In closing, we express our sincere thanks and gratitude to the families. Many are here today and we thank them for sharing their stories. You are the reason we continue to demand action. We are honoured to walk beside you on this journey!
Moreover, we acknowledge that families and communities must take the lead in this movement. Their stories need to be heard, and their initiatives supported. Relationships must be nurtured and further strengthened with other families, as well as with grassroots women and men, organizations, and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities across Turtle Island.

This Joint Statement is supported by the National Sisters In Spirit Vigil Committee members: Amnesty International Canada Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Aboriginal Caucus KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) National Association of Friendship Centre (NAFC)

To add your support to this Joint Statement please contact Sarah MacLean at 1-800-461-4043 ext 251 or smaclean@nwac.ca

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful