Kamloops fashion show aims to help families of murdered and missing women | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops fashion show aims to help families of murdered and missing women

From left to right: Lead model Heather Lewis, Tanya Pellett, Paula Pellett, Tanisha Spahan, Judith Pete and Charity Joe. All the clothing, except that worn by Lewis, was provided by Ringing Bell Robes.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Gary Ridsdale
June 14, 2017 - 11:30 AM

KAMLOOPS – The issue of missing and murdered indigenous women is coming to the runway thanks to a local activist, former model and kidnapping victim. 

This fall, images of thousands of missing and murdered women will be projected onto a screen while models make their way down the runway at the Kamloops Indian Band powwow arbour for the Fashion Speaks event. 

Proceeds from the fasion show will go to Families of Sisters in Spirit, an organization that works with families of missing and murdered indigenous women.

The show's executive director Kim Coltman is driven by a personal connection to the issue. Coltman was abducted a week before her 16 birthday and almost became a missing and murdered statistic herself.

"I really thought he was going to kill me. I thought I was dead, but I managed to get away. It was luck, I think. I got really lucky. He was caught, but unfortunately he got away with it," Coltman says.

Coltman says her captor wasn't charged in part because of flaws in the justice and legal systems. She wants to change that with her fashion show fundraising event.

"Police believe that because the missing are First Nations, as is popular belief, they are addicts of some sort and they deserve it. That needs to change," Coltman says.

By choosing First Nations fashion designers and models, Coltman is hoping to shake stigmas and change public perception of what indigenous people are capable of.

"There's such a stigma that's attached to First Nations. No, we are not all drunks and no we are not all addicts," she says.

In the past, the majority of the fashion show guests have been First Nations and she wants to change that. Going ahead, Coltman wants to reach a broader audience in order to be successful and get their message out.

"There are so many women who haven't been found and we want to help find them. They can't speak for themselves and that's why we call it Fashion Speaks," Coltman says.

The show will take place in the Kamloops Indian Band powwow arbour on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kim Anderson or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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