Every Oct. 4, people across the nation gather to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The goal is to support grieving families and provide opportunities for healing, all while being a movement for social change.
In Kelowna, marchers in red took to the downtown core on Friday afternoon, chanting and drumming while holding pictures.
“The placards that we carry are representative of one or two missing and murdered Indigenous women,” said Dorothy Goodeye, a participant in the Sisters in Spirit Vigil, “but there are thousands more.”
“I think of the families, I think of their mothers, their grandmothers, their sisters, their aunties, their daughters, their nieces,” said Edna Terbasket, another vigil participant, “the family that they left behind.”
The vigil gathered at the Kelowna Friendship Society, where participants said there are too many unanswered questions.
“Why is it still happening, why aren’t our sisters found?” asked Terbasket.
RCMP sergeant Ron Palta, who’s stationed in Surrey, travelled to Kelowna to show support.
“To show that we still remember these files, that these cases are important to us,” Palta said of being in Kelowna. “And that we’re still working on them and trying to find solutions and bring closures to the families and the community.”
Palta says the files are difficult, but that vigils like this help with awareness.
“Somebody out there knows something about these cases,” he said, “and that’s what we’re urging, to keep these names in the public eye, to show people that they’re not forgotten.”
On a wall inside the Friendship Centre, many small paper dresses were lined up, each one a representative of a life, a family left without answers.
“If we can in some small way create some awareness about our murdered, missing indigenous women, we will do it,” said Terbasket, “We will continue to do it.”