Hundreds took to Saskatoon streets Sunday to walk in support of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.
Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the Sisters in Spirit march and vigil. From Station 20 West, around 200 of people streamed through the streets, pounding drums, singing and wearing a distinct red arm band in solidarity.
Helen Smith-McIntyre works with Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik, the organization hosting the walk. She said the gathering represents a decade of tangible increases in awareness of the plight of indigenous women across the country.
“It also means sadly that we’re still not on top of the problem. Aboriginal women and girls continue to go missing and continue to be found murdered,” she said.
Smith-McIntyre said she has seen an increase in talk about aboriginal issues across Canada and greater recognition from community leaders. She points to the City of Saskatoon and the province’s endorsement of an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women as proof that the movement is making headway.
But she says it is still difficult to think of the friends she has lost and watch families who have lost loved ones.
“I carry the heart of a mother into the gatherings and find it very difficult to see the pain of the parents and siblings of other relatives who are still wondering where their daughters, mothers, granddaughters or aunts are,” she said.
She said the walk had provided an environment for the families where they can feel supported.
In a startling report released last year, the RCMP revealed nearly 1,200 aboriginal women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada in the last 30 years.
During Sunday’s event, participants walked down Avenue P to 22nd Street, then went to Avenue I before they came back to 20th Street and ended at Station 20 West to enjoy soup and bannock along with a vigil and a moment of remembrance.