Speaker Gloria Morgan reads out the names of the 14 women who were murdered during the Montreal Massacre in 1989. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Speaker Gloria Morgan reads out the names of the 14 women who were murdered during the Montreal Massacre in 1989. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Enderby Vigil honours Canada’s missing and murdered women

Gone, but not forgotten.

  • Dec. 7, 2017 1:26 p.m.

On a clear, cold December night in Enderby nearly 50 women, men and children gathered to honour Canada’s missing and murdered women.

Standing in a circle at the corner of Enderby Grindrod Road, one of the last places 28-year-old Caitlin Potts of Enderby was seen on Feb. 21, 2016, the crowd lit candles and held a vigil before marching to the Splatsin Community Centre, where each member of the group was invited to share their story and reflect on the women they have lost as a result of domestic violence.

In her message to the crowd prior to their walk Wednesday, one of the event’s organizers, and MMIW Drone Search team leader, Jody Leon, stressed the link between domestic violence and missing women.

“We have had five women go missing from our area (within the last two years.) And this is unacceptable,” she told the crowd. “The Native Women’s Association of Canada says there are over 4,000 women — Indigenous women, who have gone missing. And they have so many statistics about violence, they have stopped counting.”

Carrying placards bearing the names and photos of Treena Marie Ball, Nicole Bell, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz, Traci Genereaux and Potts, participants chanted the somber rallying cry, ”Gone, but not forgotten,” as leaders called out the names of more than 100 missing and murdered Canadian women, many of whom identified as Indigenous.

Marney Portugaise, marched quietly with the crowd before speaking briefly about the disappearance of Ashley Simpson. Portugaise is a “close” long-time family friend of the Simpson family.

Simpson was reported missing on April 28, 2016 from Yankee Flats near Salmon Arm. She was 31. Her parents, John and Cindy, were unable to attend Wednesday’s vigil.

Shivering slightly from the bitter cold, pulling her sweatshirt emblazoned with am image of a smiling Simpson flashing a peace sign, framed by the words, “And sometimes against all odds, against all logic, we still hope,” around her for warmth, Portugaise said she has accepted that Ashley will likely not be found alive. She feels the “best” she and Simpson’s parents can hope for is to locate Ashley’s remains.

But she does not believe Ashley will be found on the Silver Creek farm property where Traci Genereaux’s remains were found in November.

“I truly believe that her fate lies in the hands of her boyfriend,” Portugaise said tearfully, adding that she believes she has evidence that Simpson was involved in an “abusive” relationship with her boyfriend.

“He is also, to the best of my knowledge, the last person to see her alive,” she noted.

In light of this, Portugaise said she deemed it appropriate that the vigil was held on the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, also known as the Montreal massacre. The notorious mass shooting, which occurred at École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989, involved 25-year-old Marc Lepine, who, armed with a Mini-14 rifle and a hunting knife, entered the school and shot 14 women, and injured 10 other women and four men before turning the gun on himself.

Speaker Gloria Morgan stressed the significance of the 1989 massacre on the state of victims rights in Canada, and how “little” has changed over the past 28 years.

“They died because they were women,” she told the crowd. “Today is about remembering victims, but it is also an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women, and to take action.”

For more information on the MMIW Drone Search team, to get involved with the search for any of the missing local women, or to donate to the drone team, visit them at Murdered And Missing Women Drone Search Team on Facebook. Anyone with information about any of the missing women is urged to call the tip line at 1-877-987-8477

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Roughly 50 women, men and children joined organizer Jody Leon in marching in honour of Caitlin Potts, Traci Genereaux, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell during a vigil held in remembrance of Canada’s missing and murdered women. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Roughly 50 women, men and children joined organizer Jody Leon in marching in honour of Caitlin Potts, Traci Genereaux, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell during a vigil held in remembrance of Canada’s missing and murdered women. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Just Posted

Dr. Christine Perkins is the new superintendent of schools for the Vernon School District, effective Aug. 1. Perkins moves to the North Okanagan from the Kootenay Lake School District in Nelson. (Vernon School District photo)
Vernon School District names new superintendent

Dr. Christine Perkins moves from Kootenay Lake district to take over from the retiring Joe Rogers

Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy and board member Kyle Britton accept a $43,400 grant from the BC Arts Council one-time StrongerBC fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic April 9, 2021. (VPAG)
$43K boost for Vernon gallery

Province backs local art gallery with one-time pandemic grant

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen landlord’s home trashed by tenants

Rooms filled with junk, garbage, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read