Okanagan Indian Band elder Virginia Gregoire (centre), supported by her granddaughter Lacey Gregoire, right, and Glenda Louis, opens the Red Dress campaign with a prayer Wednesday morning at Vernon’s Justice Park. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Missing and murdered Indigenous women remembered at Vernon rally

Red Dress campaign honours the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada

Bernie Williams wanted the crowd of 50 gathered at Vernon’s Justice Park Wednesday morning to feel uncomfortable.

And it wasn’t because of the hot, sunny weather.

Williams, an advocate from the Downtown Eastside Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), was the special speaker at a Red Dress Campaign, hosted by the Okanagan Indian Band. The campaign is to honour and remember the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls across Canada, which include a trio from the North Okanagan.

See: $10,000 reward offered for information on missing Shuswap woman

“I have a saying: ‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,’” said Williams. “These women’s lives matter.”

The red dress is used to symbolize the missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The event was opened by a prayer from Okanagan band elder Virginia Gregoire, followed by the singing and drumming of a traditional Okanagan song.

After two hours at Justice Park, the campaign moved to Komasket Park on Westside Road for an afternoon that included workshops on self defence and healthy relationships.

The afternoon session was scheduled to finish with a community meal and a screening of the 2017 film River of Silence, shot near Merritt, about a First Nations woman who sets out to find answers about her murdered daughter.

The chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), Marion Buller, told a recent Kamloops audience that the final report into the inquiry will now allow governments and private-sector organizations to begin strategizing how to address the report’s 231 recommendations.

See: Missing women’s inquiry leaders reconcile Canada Day with ‘genocide’ findings

Buller said the report “cited the significant, persistent and deliberate pattern of systemic human rights and Indigenous-rights violations and abuses as the cause of the disappearances, murders and violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls.”

The report said the violence constituted genocide by the state against Indigenous people.

With files from Kamloops This Week



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women advocate Bernie Williams was the guest speaker at the Okanagan Indian Band’s Red Dress campaign in memory of the missing and murderer women and girls Wednesday morning at Vernon’s Justice Park. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Just Posted

Okanagan pubs pour support for prostate

Vernon and Lake Country restaurants taking part in Pubs for Prostate

Drug offences up 81% in Vernon

RCMP says number shows policing is working

Local pilot takes part in Salmon Arm’s first Remembrance Day flyover

Hamilton McClymont and other pilots pay aerial tribute at several North Okanagan ceremonies

Vernon junior girls volleyball teams face off to help kids take part in sports

The Seaton Sonics host the VSS Panthers tonight for a fundraiser game organized by Beairsto students

Citizens give hoot about injured Vernon owl

Bird with damaged or broken wing found outside Vernon Performing Arts Centre

VIDEO: Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Vancouver Island soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Beer-infused olive oil soap comes out just in time for holiday shopping

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Killer who fled to Taiwan day after shooting B.C. man over $80 sentenced 13 years later

The sentence comes 13 years after Shaoxin Zhang, 19, was killed in a Burnaby parking lot

Most Read