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Kelowna to host sixth annual women's memorial vigil

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Image Credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
February 10, 2017 - 4:54 PM

KELOWNA - February 10, 2017– UBCO and Okanagan College graduates Mary Song (Carrier Nation) and Tina Miller (Nisga’a Nation) have joined together to organize Kelowna’s 6th Annual Women’s Memorial Vigil to honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada. This year’s vigil welcomes all members of our community to join together in memory, protest, and healing. The event will be held at the Kelowna Courthouse, 1355 Water Street on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 5pm.

“The February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of Indigenous women, including trans and two-spirit women, who have died as a result of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual violence.” – Idle No More website

Mary Song, of West Kelowna, is personally affected by the national tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women as her friend Shelly Dene, a member of the Fort Mckay First Nation and 25 years old at the time, has been missing since the summer of 2013. Song last said goodbye to Shelly in West Kelowna a month before Shelly went missing from Edmonton, Alberta.

In a report released by the RCMP in 2014, in part, stated:
• A total of 1181 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or are missing between 1980 and 2012.

• 1017 are homicide victims.

• 164 Indigenous women and girls are still missing.

• 225 cases are still unsolved.

• Indigenous women and girls make up 4.3 percent of the total female population but make up 11.3 percent of the murdered and missing.

Since 1991, Indigenous women across the country have organized the February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial Marches across Canada. After years of dedicated and determined advocacy by Indigenous women, families and friends, in 2015 and as stated by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls website, “the Government of Canada announced the launch of an independent national inquiry to address the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.” Additionally, “The Commissioners officially began the National Inquiry on September 1, 2016. They are expected to submit an interim report in the fall of 2017 and a final report by the end of 2018.”
The 6th Annual Women’s Memorial Vigil in Kelowna will begin at 5pm at (in front of) the Kelowna Courthouse. Some of the speakers include local leaders, organizers, and teachers.


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