A candlelight vigil was held at Edmonton’s Boyle Street Plaza on Friday night as attendees came together to pay their respect to the lives of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
A gym at the facility was adorned with posters highlighting the issue and paying hommage to those have been killed or gone missing. A traditional dance was also performed at the Sisters in Spirit vigil.
Earlier this year, the chief commissioner of the national inquiry tasked with looking into the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls released her final report and said the issue was a result of a “persistent and deliberate pattern of systemic racial and gendered human and Indigenous-rights violations and abuses, perpetuated historically and maintained today by the Canadian state, designed to displace Indigenous people from their lands, social structures and governments, and to eradicate their existence as nations, communities, families and individuals.”
In June, Marion Buller said major changes are needed to break down colonialism in Canada and the report made over 200 recommendations, including calls for justice system reforms.
“It’s a step in the right direction, so it is positive,” said community advocate, Chevi Rabbit, who attended Friday’s vigil in Edmonton. “But I don’t think it’s enough… there needs to be more work.
“There needs to be system changes in terms of how we manage this human rights emergency,” Rabbit added.
“So I think talk is great, but we need to start walking our talk and how does that talk look?”
Earlier in the day, the Alberta government declared Friday to be Sisters in Spirit Day.
“Community vigils are held across Alberta and Canada giving families and loved ones as a way to speak out for their daughters, mothers, nieces, aunts, sisters and grandmothers, whose voices have been silenced,” Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson said in a statement.
At least 11 Sisters in Spirit vigils were held across Alberta on Friday.