June 25, 2019 4:05 pm
Updated: June 25, 2019 6:54 pm

Community walk in Stand Off, Alta., honours MMIWG

WATCH: A community walk in Standoff, Alta., was the beginning of a two-day event honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Danica Ferris reports.

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Members of the Kainai Nation and Blood Tribe walked and prayed in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Stand Off, Alta., on Tuesday.

No More Silence is a two-day healing event.

“This is to provide awareness and understanding into the MMIWG final report,” said Terri-Lynn Fox, director of the Kainai Wellness Centre.

“We wanted to create a sense of community, coming back to ceremony, and creating connections so that all family members feel supported and they know where to come for support.”

Fox said No More Silence also draws awareness to policies that affect Indigenous people.

“We wanted to ensure that our members are aware of some of the policies that are being implemented,” said Fox, “as well as the much-needed awareness regarding families and survivors.

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“This will create awareness regarding colonization, the effects of colonization, the effects of Indian residential schools, and the effects of policies that don’t work for Indigenous people.”

READ MORE: Liberals pledge $13M to ‘honour the lives and legacies’ of MMIWG

The community walk was aimed at providing an opportunity to heal, rooted in Blackfoot culture.

“Providing that sense of community, a sense of connection through ceremony,” said Fox. “[That] will then help us really dig deep and allow our emotions to release so that healing can take place.”

Fox said that many in attendance Tuesday were families of victims, and their memories were front and centre at the event.

“We want to create a sense of compassion, a sense of empathy that the women are not just numbers or a statistic, that they have names… They are mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, friends, wives… and we wanted to put a face to the name,” Fox said.

One of those attending in memory of a loved one was Marlene Chief Moon, whose sister was killed in Lethbridge nearly two years ago.

“I’m here today in memory of my late sister. She was the youngest in our family,” said Chief Moon. “That’s why we’re here. It’s part of our way of healing because it was really devastating to lose our baby sister.”

“We’ve been attending meetings with MMIWG, which is helping us to honour not just my sister, but the other people that have been killed [too],” said Chief Moon.

READ MORE: Forced sterilization of women flagged in MMIWG report — it’s allegedly still happening

Another participant in Tuesday’s walk was Carmen Crazy Bull.

“I’m sad to say that I’m here for my late auntie… who was murdered in Calgary,” she said.

Crazy Bull explained that events like No More Silence have provided her with an opportunity to work towards healing.

“[It’s] truly like a new day,” said Crazy Bull. “Families can start to breathe that their loved ones are being acknowledged… together as a community.”

The community event will continue Wednesday with a traditional powwow in honour of MMIWG.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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