A Lethbridge woman whose mother was violently killed in Calgary 20 years ago is speaking out following the release of the final report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
She hopes to create further awareness on an issue that has claimed the lives of so many people.
“She was brutally beaten by two men in a back alley. She was beaten so badly they had to cover her face,” said MMIWG advocate Kaily Bird on Saturday.
March 6, 1999, is a day she will never forget; it’s the day her mother Gloria Black Plum was taken from her.
“I was 31 when my mom passed away, when my mom was murdered. It was a really difficult time,” added Bird.
Despite the hardships, she hopes to make a difference following the release of the final report on the national inquiry into MMIWG.
The report has 231 key recommendations, including re-investigating unsolved cases and a national action plan.
“We are still healing and that is why I’ve become an advocate for missing and murdered aboriginal women,” said Bird.
Bird’s daughter Selena Medicine Shield, who was crowned Miss Blackfoot Canada this year, is joining her. As a representative for MMIWG, Medicine Shield decided to do things her own way.
“My red jingle dress that I am wearing represents the missing and murdered Indigenous women in honour of my grandmother, Gloria Black Plum,” said Medicine Shield.
She is honouring a loved one she never had the chance to meet.
“She is still in my heart and every time I dance, I think about her and to heal her spirit,” added Medicine Shield.
Working as an advocate, she reaches out to a younger generation, to personally share the difficult but important story.
“When I go to schools, I speak about missing and murdered Indigenous women so that the younger girls and men or whoever will know more about their awareness and surroundings and to end the violence,” said Medicine Shield.