October 5, 2015 1:56 am
Updated: October 6, 2015 1:50 am

Candlelight vigil honours missing and murdered aboriginal women

A vigil is held outside Vancouver City Hall on October 4, 2015, as part of a nationwide event designed to honour the lives of missing and murdered aboriginal women

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“I’m here because my grandma, Angeline Willier, is one of the missing and murdered aboriginal women,” filmmaker PD Chalifoux said.

Chalifoux was one of many who gathered at Vancouver City Hall today to take part in the Sisters in Spirit vigil – a nationwide event designed to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) and support their grieving families.

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In addition to honouring the missing women, the vigil also brought together groups demanding a national inquiry from the government.

Missing and murdered indigenous women: Still looking for answers to a decades-old problem

“Aboriginal women are five to seven times more likely to get murdered or go missing, and [Stephen Harper] still says it’s not on his radar,” says Joyce Galuska, Aboriginal Caucus Representative for the BC Federation of Labour.

This year was the first that the BC Federation of Labour attended the vigil. Others in attendance included Deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde.

“I am proud that the people of Vancouver are not silent,” Reimer said in an emotional address to the crowd.

According to most recent statistics, 1,181 aboriginal women are currently missing or murdered in Canada. It is the hope that the Sisters in Spirit vigil will bring the government’s inaction on the issue to the forefront in the wake of a federal election.

“It’s bigger than the First Nations community,” Galuska said.

WATCH: 16×9 explores the troubling trend of violence against aboriginal women and we hear from the families of those who weren’t as fortunate

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