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.

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

 

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

RCMP officers search the Sagmoen farm where the remains of 18-year-old Tracy Genereaux would later be discovered. -image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer
Sex workers called out to area near Sagmoen farm: Vernon Mounties

Curtis Sagmoen, convicted in relation to assault of sex trade workers, is prohibited from soliciting escorts

selfie.
Morning Start: Selfies Kill More People Than Sharks

Your morning start for Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

Chris Marchand
Survivors spread reconciliation with Vernon’s cultural partners

Cultural Safety Program facilitated by Syilx elders

(Submitted by Cassidi Markus)
Snow flurries forecasted for the Okanagan this weekend

Arctic front expected to bring colder than average temperatures and snow

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Black Press Media files)
Early voters more likely to favour NDP, but overall B.C. election is tightening: poll

According to Elections BC, 383,477 people cast a ballot during advanced voting days

Blotter bug
Updated: Highway 1 reopens near Revelstoke after morning crash

DriveBC says to watch for traffic congestion

(Pixabay)
Wave of racist emails ‘unleashed’ on B.C. researchers investigating racism in health care

The team has received close to 600 calls and emails since the investigation started in July

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Junction 3 Coffeehouse in Osoyoos has found a creative way for customers to enjoy a cup of coffee outdoors in their own safe bubble. (Junction 3 photo)
Hangout in your own personal bubble at this South Okanagan cafe

Osoyoos cafe gets creative under COVID-19 restrictions

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Most Read