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RCMP join Enderby walk for missing and murdered women

Click to play video 'RCMP join march for missing and murdered women' RCMP join march for missing and murdered women
Watch Above: With several missing women cases still unsolved in the north Okanagan, a gathering was held today on the banks of the Shuswap River. Dozens took part in the Red Dress March in Enderby on Thursday, and this time, a large contingent of RCMP joined in – Oct 4, 2018

Dozens gathered on the bank of the Shuswap River in Enderby on Thursday for a ceremony honouring missing and murdered women.

The group then marched through town chanting, “No more stolen sisters.”

The region has been plagued by a spate of disappearances since 2016 and a local group has formed to help search for the missing women using drones.

They regularly hold marches and protests to draw attention to the specific local cases and speak out about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Click to play video 'Sisters in Spirit rally takes to Kelowna streets' Sisters in Spirit rally takes to Kelowna streets
Sisters in Spirit rally takes to Kelowna streets – Oct 5, 2018

WATCH: Kelowna march for missing women gathers on steps of Kelowna courthouse.
“A lot of people have the misconception that murdered and missing women only occur on Highway 16 and what we know out of Splatsin First Nation is that it actually occurs everywhere,” said Jody Leon with the MMIW [missing and murdered Indigenous women] Drone Search Team.
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READ MORE: “Gone but not forgotten”, missing women remembered at emotional gathering in the north Okanagan

“There has been five missing women… within the Splatsin First Nation area and we have no intention of stopping looking for them, stopping rallying for them. It does affect our lives right here.”

Nicole Bell, Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson and Deanna Wertz all went missing from the region and remain unaccounted for.

The remains of 18-year-old Traci Genereaux were found during the search of a Salmon River Road property in the fall of 2017. The Vernon teen had been missing for months before the discovery.

READ MORE: Human remains found on farm near Salmon Arm identified as missing teen

What was notable about Thursday’s march was that uniformed RCMP officers participated in the ceremony and march carrying signs like “Justice for MMIW,” and, “No more stolen sisters.”

The officers participation in Thursday’s march was especially noteworthy given that police have often been criticized for their handling of the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“We basically asked for their participation because we want to continue to have their alliance. We need their help to protect the members of our drone search team, to keep women safe, to keep our community safe,” Leon said.

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“The RCMP are here to say that ‘Yes, we do support this community and we do appreciate what they are going through,'” Const. Kelly Brett said.

“We are here just to say that, ‘We walk with you in these times of need and we hope that answers can be given to the families at some point.'”

Watch Below: Global Okanagan coverage of local cases of missing and murdered women and advocacy on the issue.

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