Valentines Day 2014 Sharon Johnson by netnewsledger
THUNDER BAY – Remember the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women during the Annual Valentine’s Day Memory walk. Today in Thunder Bay a crowd gathered at noon to reflect, remember and share about the women in our community who have gone missing.
The murder of mothers, sisters and grandmothers leaves a huge hole in the families and the communities. Sharon Johnson shared that it has been 22 years since her sister was “found face down in the snow, in the east end of the city”.
It took Sharon a long time to find the courage to step up and make a difference.
Ontario Regional Chief Beardy
Ontario Regional Chief Beardy gave an emotional address to the gathering. The Regional Chief thanked the people for standing together. “This is not a native issue, this is a Canadian issue,” stated the Regional Chief.
Regional Chief Beardy is calling for the federal government to step up and hold an inquiry into the murdered and missing women.
Thunder Bay Chief of Police JP Lesveque
Thunder Bay Chief of Police JP Lesveque stated that he and the department along with many other Chiefs of Police would also welcome a national strategy and solutions in solving the issue.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler joined the growing call for a national public inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women as events were held in Thunder Bay and across Ontario today in their honour.
“Today we join the growing call by First Nation leaders, provinces, territories and the international community for the Government of Canada to conduct a national review of violence against Aboriginal women,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler who, although unable to attend, supported a vigil at Thunder Bay City Hall this afternoon. “I strongly urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his position and call this inquiry so we can finally uncover the truth behind these tragic losses and develop the necessary supports for First Nation women and children.”
The Government of Canada has rejected recommendations by the United Nations Human Rights Council for a comprehensive national plan to end violence against Indigenous women and girls during last year’s United Nations review of Canada’s human rights record.
“The federal government says it is committed to preventing violence against Aboriginal women but our mothers, sisters and daughters are still dying and disappearing without a trace,” said Fiddler, who holds the women’s directorate portfolio. “For years we have urged the government to work with us to develop a comprehensive, united approach to end this violence. The time for action is now.”
The walkers left Thunder Bay City Hall along May Street and headed to the Lakehead Labour Centre for a feast and time to reflect and remember those women who have been lost.
Ann Magiskan, the Aboriginal Liaison for the City of Thunder Bay hosted today’s proceedings at City Hall. Councillor Paul Pugh attended on behalf of City Council.