They were small in numbers, but the 30 people who gathered in front of the Vernon Courthouse Tuesday brought a sense of urgency for their call for justice.
They are concerned that society continues to overlook the aboriginal women who continue to go missing or are murdered.
And that fact appears to be supported by a 2014 Globe and Mail article indicating 1,200 cases of murdered and missing aboriginal women in Canada over 30 years, or three to four times higher than their average representation in the country.
“The system is failing,” said Mollie Bono, one of the organizers of Tuesday’s rally.
“All we want to do is bring attention. We hope people will write letters and ask officials what they are doing about it.”
When incidents occur, the media and authorities often emphasize the woman’s activities, including drug use or prostitution, and a dangerous lifestyle contributed to their disappearance or death. However, this overlooks the fact that these women were mothers, daughters, sisters and spouses. They may have fallen on hard times, but someone loved them.
“We as non-aboriginals need to question our assumptions about the lives of aboriginal people,” said Barbara Levesque, a rally organizer.
There have been calls for a federal inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, and while there may be merits to such a process, a final report may ultimately not achieve the desired end result.
What is truly needed is for Canadians of all backgrounds to learn more about each other and express compassion.
Collective pressure also needs to be placed on the police, courts and bureaucrats to address the systemic flaws that have contributed to cases falling through the cracks.