February 12, 2016 - 11:30 AM
KELOWNA – For the fifth year in a row members of the community will join students from UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College to honour missing and murdered indigenous women this weekend.
The 5th annual Women’s Memorial Vigil on Sunday, Feb. 14 is organized by Tina Miller and Mary Song, two Kelowna students with personal stories of loss. Miller’s mother was a victim of Robert Pickton, the Port Coquitlam pig farmer who murdered six women from Vancouver’s downtown east side.
“She’s someone who was loved and valued,” Miller says in a media release. “But her life, love and value was taken when she was murdered or went missing and that is not okay. We will not forget her worth, her value or her life.”
A Statistics Canada report says that from 1980 to 2014, police services across Canada reported 6,849 homicides involving female victims. For that same period, Aboriginal female victims accounted for 16% (1,073) of all female victims of homicide, according to the release.
Dr. Ruthann Lee, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at UBCO, says the vigil is an important event for all residents of Kelowna to recognize.
“The traditional knowledges of Indigenous peoples and especially Indigenous women are vital to protecting the land so that it remains livable for all communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” she says.
The vigil will feature speakers Pauline Terbasket from the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Kelowna city councillor Mohini Singh and Elizabeth Fry Society executive director Michelle Novakowski.
The courthouse meeting at noon will be followed by a light meal hosted by the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society.
The 5th annual Women’s Memorial Vigil will be held at the Kelowna Courthouse at noon on Feb. 14.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016